164 Comments

Thank You for this list of talking points. I am running as a Democrat in Michigan. State Representative 50th district. I have been using your talking points for a while. Thank You again for all that you do. Glen

Expand full comment

Good luck in your campaign! I hope you win in a landslide!

Expand full comment

Thank You

Expand full comment
author

Good luck to you!

Expand full comment

Thank You!

Expand full comment

Good luck Glen, the Democratic Party is rooting for you

Expand full comment

Thank You

Expand full comment

Pontiac needs you Glen, good luck with your campaign!

Expand full comment
founding

Yay Glen! Good luck!

Expand full comment

Best of Luck Glen!

Expand full comment

Thank You!

Expand full comment

Best of luck in your campaign.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Thank You

Expand full comment

Wow! I would love it if President Biden announced a special speech to the American people and read this memo word for word, with a few comments in appropriate places. It could help the overworked people see just why they are being abused by corporate America. Then, he needs to declare a climate emergency and explain that as clearly.

Expand full comment

He needs to attack!!! Call out price gougers!

I've posted this previously. IMHO runaway inflation started with Trump policies. Many of the price gougers donated to the Republican Party and/or are closely aligned with Trump. The Saudis control OPEC, the "market maker" for the price of oil internationally by fixing output. The Saudis own the largest oil refineries in the US and control a number of US oil producers. On April 12, 2020, under pressure from Trump, the world’s biggest oil-producing nations outside the United States agreed to the largest production cut ever negotiated.

OPEC, Russia and other allied producers slashed production by 9.7 million barrels per day (bpd), or about 10% of global output. Half that volume came from cuts of 2.5 million bpd each by Saudi Arabia and Russia, whose budgets depend on high oil-and-gas revenues.

This was done because the dramatic reduction in demand caused by the pandemic reduced gasoline prices to the point where it was hurting American oil company profits.

To protect those oil companies, Trump essentially extorted the Saudis to cut production.

In the meantime American oil companies have achieved record, multi-billion profits. While no president is responsible for the price of gasoline at the pump, largely a function of supply, demand and corporate greed, the disgraced former guy went to enormous length to cut supply.

Once demand was restored, we were stuck with that Trump's short-sightedness.

Inflation in energy was passed on to other commodities. During the pandemic, prices of paper products, medical supplies were kited. Everyone has to eat. Food prices have skyrocketed. Today the price of eggs shot up. There may be a bird flu, but stores are adding a profit kicker.

Biden should set up a hotline and encourage consumers to report price gouging.

Expand full comment

My water company is raising prices for the second time while I was still reeling from the first round of hikes.

Expand full comment
author

You might suggest this to him.

Expand full comment

Yes, he certainly should? We are already in a civil war so let's fight for democracy all out. No dicktators like Drumph or his Republicon party needed in the USA.

Expand full comment

lol he did that with BBB and found to be BSer his word completely untrustworthy

Expand full comment

I wrote him today.

Expand full comment

I am 73 years old and my husband 77. We are both retired. I just completed our income tax and I am always annoyed at a portion of our Social Security Benefits being taxed. Why is this.? I know it began under President Bush (the son) but why can’t Democrats who have had control of both houses of Government since that time get rid of that tax. It is not fair to be taxed throughout your working life and then again on your retirement benefits. How could that be fair when very rich people are not paying their fair share and getting all the breaks. I’m very frustrated. (Lifelong Democrat, NEVER voted for a Republican)

Expand full comment
author

The unfairness is palpable when you realize that billionaires like Elon Musk -- the richest man in the world -- paid no income tax at all in 2018, and that the typical billionaire pays a far lower tax rate than you or me.

Expand full comment

I live in California. When I retired I soon realized I did not have enough money to retire with my social sec. So, i went back to work. Now I get taxed in full on my ss payments. What a Republican (read fascists) scam. Tax the poor to benefit the rich. And the Republicans want to spread even more good will.

Expand full comment

Yes, I'm also in California (OC) and it's expensive to live here. We are fortunate to have more than enough income to live comfortably, and without debt. Everything (house, cars, etc.) is paid off! Otherwise we would likely have needed to downsize or leave the state. The latter is not an option as our grandkids are here.

Expand full comment

You can thank Ronald Ray-Gun for the taxing of social security payments. He enjoyed a comfortable retirement at taxpayer expense.

Expand full comment

I'm with you! We paid income taxes on 85% of our Social Security benefits last year, while the richest men in the country paid little to no tax.

One correction, however: This tax began well before W took office, it began in 1984 with Reagan, and expanded in 1993 (Clinton). It's time to repeal this unfair taxation of our retirement benefits. I have no issue with paying taxes on my pension and IRA withdrawals, or my investment income, but leave my Federal benefits alone!

Expand full comment

Wow. When you're right you're right!

Expand full comment

Wow. When you're right you're right.

Expand full comment
Apr 12, 2022·edited Apr 12, 2022

Professor, I fear, as long as your messaging reaches only Substack subscribers, viewers of Inequality Media videos, those who take class with you, plus your occasional news show or hearing appearances, the Democratic Party, not the people most responsible, will bear the brunt in 22 of the demoralizing effects of inflation.

Though I imagine most, if not all, of us spread your messaging as widely as our respective access permits, I expect none of us has resources and connections, in any way, commensurate with yours. Hence, considering that rising inflation could be the decisive factor in determining which party controls Congress and State Legislatures, I have no answers except to prevail upon you to extend your thorough and highly accessible messaging more broadly.

Expand full comment

A bit of encouragement Barbara, this article was in the widely read Guardian this morning.

Expand full comment

DW, Good to know, though I expect many readers already were aware. In my view, “more broadly” entails a chorus of standout voices educating the general public. Still, I do appreciate you letting me know about the piece’s publication.

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

All do respect to you and I see what you are saying Janet R, but I am of the opinion that that particular "willful ignorant" element is not reachable, they are where they want to be so they can hear what they want to hear. If I am wrong, that is a good thing.

Expand full comment

Time for lawn signs that focus on clear messaging: Vote Blue to End Corporate Welfare.

Expand full comment

Very nice... A clear simply understood message.

Expand full comment
author

Believe me, Barbara, I and my talented team at Inequality Media are doing everything we can. But there are only six of us. On the theory that every American is 6 degrees of separation from every other, I urge you to get this memo to every one of your friends, and ask them to get it to every one of theirs. Eventually it will reach everyone.

Expand full comment

Professor, Clearly, I am grateful beyond words for your dedication as among our most astute agents for change you rightfully believe is just and right and moral. That understood, as I wrote to a subscriber, while I regard Inequality Media’s videos as necessary, I don’t view them as sufficient. Hence, my clarion call for a chorus of standout leaders repeatedly to convey your messaging to the general public. Meanwhile, this weekend, I will compile a list to whom I will send your memo and urge them to do the same.

Expand full comment

... postcards, postcards, postcards...

It may seem negligible, but never rule out the power of ripple effect. I like to think Dr. Reich and other like minds are starting ripple effects all over, every day. Speak the truth daily and it will have an impact. I'm sure of it.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

— Margaret Mead

Expand full comment

Jeanne, I love both your message and your commitment. You will note further down that I am recommending an organization—Markers for Democracy: Saving Our Democracy One Postcard at a Time—a group, in my view, of highly thoughtful agents for change. Btw, the group can be contacted at markersfordemocracy@gmail.com

Again, my thanks both for your comment and for you following up with the others on this thread.

Expand full comment

I'll check out Markers. Thanks!

Expand full comment
founding

Thank you!

Expand full comment
founding

Which postcards are you referring to, Jeanne? Messages to voters?

Expand full comment

Yes. It feels therapeutic. I write them out in the evening, just a handful at a time - not only to people in my own state of PA, but also to other target states. Organizations pushing to get out the vote will supply lists. I donate the postcards and stamps. In the message, I've been focusing on the idea that one's vote is one's voice, and every vote matters. Then I go on to where to go with voting questions, or corporate greed and abuse of power, the need for affordable basics, the need for (at the very least) a minimum $15 wage, and the need for tax fairness - and therefore a Democratic majority in Congress come next January.

A few friends have dismissed it, saying it's irrelevant.

I don't know if it is. I don't care.

No regrets.

Expand full comment

I think it does matter, very much.

Expand full comment
founding

I do get out the vote letters and postcards but this sounds a bit different. Do the organizations have specific campaigns like this or is this just your own? How can I get involved?

Expand full comment

Paula, Though I note Jeanne recommended an organization, I write because I wish to recommend a personal favorite: Markers for Democracy: Saving our Democracy, One Postcard at a Time. (markersfordemocracy@gmail.com). Though I only recently learned of this group, I sense its organizers are both highly committed and exceptionally astute agents for change.

Expand full comment
founding

Super! Thank you.

Expand full comment

You might check out the Progressive Turnout Project.

https://www.turnoutpac.org

Expand full comment
founding

Thank you!

Expand full comment

I try and help Mr. Reich spread his message with financial contributions to Inequality Media Civic Action. I urge other Substack subscribers, if financially able, to consider doing the same!

Expand full comment

Tim, Though I’m with you, and regard Inequality Media videos as necessary, I don’t regard them as sufficient. Hence, my clarion call for a chorus of standout leaders repeatedly to educate the general public.

Expand full comment

I think you're right. Most filks have never heard of the Powell Memo or the Bork doctrine

Expand full comment

Van Gogh, Admittedly, were I not a subscriber, I would know far less about the devastating impact of repeated assaults on a system wherein market prices are determined through supply and demand.

Expand full comment

I am respectfully asking anyone worth more than $500-million to immigrate to another country and take everything you can carry with you, including your money. Before you leave, please surrender your U.S. citizenship and passport for you are not welcome here anymore.

If you do not leave willingly, you will be evicted. So take your yachts out of our harbors. Take your jets out of our airports. Take your money out of our financial institutions. Take your cars and security forces out of our towns and cities. We will not babysit your children any longer, so please take your offspring with you. Do not worry, we will sell your real estate holdings and send you the money.

Buy yourselves some land and build a country of your own. We will be watching to see how your country fares without taxes, government, and workers.

Expand full comment

I like your idea. We should also recoup some of their ill-gotten gains with taxes on wealth, estates and windfall profits before evicting them!

Expand full comment

Actually, rich folks who renounce their US citizenship have to pay an exit tax! The tax is a capital gains tax (20% plus 3.8%) on all their assets. For someone like Musk or Bezos, the tax would be billions of dollars.

Expand full comment

Is that why so many of them maintain dual citizenship?

Expand full comment
founding

You rock, Raffey!

Expand full comment

not bad idea do not let door hit you in your ass

Expand full comment

I agree, Professor Reich. Can we adopt your letter and write to the powers that be in Washington, D.C. in addition to spreading/sharing this clear, compelling message? Have you considered a TV commercial on these issues? This message already reaches the choir that agrees with you. How can we help apart from sharing it and passing it on?

Expand full comment
author

As I suggested to Barbara, since every American is supposedly within six degrees of separation of every other American, just send this memo to all your friends and ask them to do the same. Eventually it will reach everyone.

Expand full comment

These ideas, and those of others, highlight what the Democratic Party COULD be doing by marketing themselves better. THIS is why they need to find experts (and this country has tons) who can boil the biggest, most impactual issues that the non-wealthy can relate to down into 3-4 big concepts, come up w/ key slogans and determine how to "advertise" them, ASAP. Then elected and other officials need to be trained to use the same slogans every opportunity they can find. (Then rinse and repeat; sorry but the orange approach to messaging does work..) IDK why party campaign leaders fail to see this! I see comments from people like us all the time who are now refusing to send Democratic national campaign "leaders" money because right now it's still the same ole same ole, limp, non-existent approach to LOSING.

Expand full comment

This is an excellent letter.

This all goes back to the "gilded age" which was finally broken by focusing on Monopolies and trust busting. We're in the same rat hole today. Democratic party silence is complicity(!), which totally explains why states like West Virginia, which were totally Democratic, now support Trump and the Republican greed-thieves who totally abuse them.

----------------------------------------------------------------

Expand full comment

"Gilded Age"? I'm thinking ancien régime before the French Revolution when only the lower classes paid taxes, the tax and tariff systems were byzantine at best, and, in the end, it didn't go well for the upper and landed classes.

Expand full comment

Oh, very good... And point well taken. Very similar eras.

Expand full comment

The monarchy and the church had "all " the money; there were bread riots in Paris; and, there was no avenue available to the people to effect change. Revolution was their only recourse. Unfortunately, the participants turned on each other for reasons I never did get exactly and then Napoleon was able to co-opt the revolution and steer its energy to multiple wars. I liked the song "The Poor People of Paris" popular decades ago. Yes, the bells of that revolution are always ringing in varying decibels in the background.

Expand full comment

Well we desperately need to break it again. START ------

Expand full comment

A succinct summary here.100% agree but add that it is exactly the same economic position in Britain with higher prices as a result of market dominance in key sectors and weak consumer price protection.When do the ordinary people get their sovereignty or self determination (as I say) back?

Expand full comment

Succinct message/summary ; If we could condense these 10 important points into captions, it would be good ammo for campaign messages.

Expand full comment

Your analysis appears irrefutable but the GOP will find a way to distract us with a bright, shiny object such as critical RAGE theory.

Expand full comment

Very true, but I keep going back to Biden's point so well made recently re the gop: "Ask them what THEY are all REALLY about." (What would THEY do about high gas prices? High food prices? If they say the economy's so bad, what would THEY do to fix that? IF they say companies can't find good people, go with their statement and force them to say how that should be resolved, etc etc.) Force all gop candidates into focusing on issues and don't let them go to their usual nonsense. And don't let them to wiggle out of an answer.

Expand full comment

Doug McNeil ; True, but frustratingly, nothing new.

Expand full comment

Excellent analysis - but Biden and the Democrats don't give a damn - they've already left for spring break without taking action on such essentials for everyday Americans as approving funding for Covid tests and vaccines! Maybe we should vote out ALL of the incumbents, Dems and Good for Nothing (GOP) alike, and replace them with people who actually WANT to do the job they are paid six-figures to do. Can you imagine any reputable business allowing employees to shirk their responsibilities the way Congress does???? And terms should be for one year only, not six years -- the asshole who represents me in PA, Pat Toomey, votes no on everything and can't be voted out of office because he announced last year he won't run for re-election - but not soon enough. Just takes the money and runs. I'll vote in November - but only to remove every goddamn incumbent!

Expand full comment

Dee Long ; Good plan! If they are beholden to their corporate donors, that's who they work for, not their constituents.

Expand full comment

How many times have you spoken these truths??? How many times have your readers repeated these truths to conservative friends? Facts and reason don't matter in America today. They fall on deaf ears. Facts and reason are symptoms of a disease, TRUST! Trust is the blood that carries oxygen throughout the system and without oxygen one dies. Jonathan Hait wrote an excellent article in The Atlantic this week that explains the disease we suffer - Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid. Dr Reich tells us how to cure this disease, but we first need to realize what the disease is that we have been exposed. Yes, EXPOSED, someone saw we were vulnerable. Someone saw forty years of stagnant wages. Someone saw Capitalism without reins. Someone saw a bought Congress. Someone saw we were vulnerable and EXPOSED us to mistrust. It worked! It made us SICK very SICK!

Expand full comment

The disease is corporate fascism is it not? Along with that goes fascist politics does it not? Most all religions are dictatorships are they not? Religions want power of state do they not? They want to rule and tell everyone where to go and what to do do they not. Republicons and white supremacy go hand in hand do they not. Liberty university was started to give white children a place to go to school with black kids was it not. Liberty University grads end up allover government when Republicons are in office do they not? Their current actions are acts of civil war are they not?

That is part of the equation democrats need to figure out and figure out soon.

Republicans watch Fox new and other rw media.like in Russia they only know what they are fed

In the USA we need to follow the laws and lock them up. We need to let the rep sleeping public know what is going on and hold them to the l as w as well. We also need to get rid of the ( partial) republicons on the supreme court and only keep the impartial one.

We have a lot of work to do.

Expand full comment

Would you be open to a 15 year hiatus on the court? Do without it to see if it is truly needed. There are Con. scholars who say we don't need it. It'd give us time to think up a better selection process and come up with rules of ethics.

Expand full comment

Well stated.

Expand full comment

You ended with, "This should not be a partisan issue." Unfortunately, as you experienced when you testified at congressional hearings, Republicans are determined to make it just that. They find it in their political interest to blame Biden and the Democrats, rather than take action to relieve ordinary Americans' suffering. And, as you said, they don't want to take action because the corporations that generously fund their campaigns vigorously lobby against it. So much corruption......

Biden and Democratic candidates and officeholders should relentlessly repeat a capsule summary of what you wrote and try to take the necessary corrective action, even if Republicans oppose it. I read a statistic that 25% of Americans believe corporations are responsible for inflation. If that is true, I see that as a hopeful sign, because the number could be increased with the right messaging.

Expand full comment

Fully agree on the need for corporate tax increases, along with a wealth tax and goernment support of unions. Without these changes, the top 0.01% will continue to debase democracy. Your "40 years" is the time since Reagan, who took an economy that was truly great - aside from the temporary setback of stagflation - then used this setback to declare war on government, cut taxes on the wealthy and bust unions. In other words, Reagan and Friedman stood Adam Smith on his head.

Time to go back.

One thing about rising prices and lack of competition, however, was noticed by my wife. When she goes shopping and looks, for example, at toothpaste, there used to be many different brands. Now there is only Colgate. Likewise with cola, Coke and Pepsi dominate. Is it possible that smaller manufacturers have been less able to weather the pandemic, and that this accounts for the lack of competition, and if so, can we expect prices to start coming down spontaneously when the economy comes roaring back?

Expand full comment

Perhaps all of us should send this excellent 10 point opinion to everyone of our state legislators and democratic candidates. In other words, let's spread the word. Democrats need to act now, the midterms are right around the corner.

Expand full comment

I'm copying and pasting as we speak. Ask your candidates to commit to the pledge: " I will not take Fossil Fuel money" before you send $ contributions.

Expand full comment
founding

I note whaat you did not say. You did not buy into the Freidman Moneterism orthodoxy of the past 40 years which was a weapon of mass distraction. The world if far more complex. I suggests any reader get a copy of Sen. Klobuchar's book Anti-lTrust.

Expand full comment

nice make million on a book but there has been no action just same ole talk as more and more mergers occur and Facebook changed its name

Expand full comment