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Dissecting Robert Reich

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FEBRUARY 27, 2017

In the past few weeks, Robert Reich has taken to the Internet to launch a “resistance” campaign against President Donald Trump. Just recently, I listened to one of my friends, who happens to be a Reich fanatic, rant about how Trump should be ousted from his job for uttering untrue statements and stoking divisions in the country. The only problem with that principle is that, if it was applied with any uniformity, Robert Reich would be barred from practically any employment.

Former secretary Reich is often exactly the person he claims to despise. He dabbles in conspiracy theories, utters egregious falsehoods about the economy and engages in acts that reek of hypocrisy. Just as an example, Reich repeatedly blathers about the horrors of income inequality while, at the same time, collecting a paycheck of $284,053 in 2015, earning substantially more than the average American CEO who, in his opinion, are profiting off the backs of the working class. The problem with him and many other critics of capitalism is that they tend to be pretty rich themselves.

After the now infamous riots at the Milo Yiannopoulos event, Reich took to Newsweek to publish an op-ed that claimed that it was possible that “Yiannopoulos and Breitbart were in cahoots with the agitators, in order to lay the groundwork for a Trump crackdown on universities and their federal funding.” The only substantiation he could provide for such a lofty claim was that he felt that the motives of Breitbart and the Trump administration were suspicious, which was reason enough to believe that they would have their own supporters brutally beaten with rods and sprayed with mace. The truth is that the groups responsible for the riots were organizing before Trump was inaugurated, and even after the riots, they continue to intimidate some of the event’s organizers. So, Reich’s unsubstantiated theory may be what you call an “alternative fact.”

It doesn’t end there. After the riots in heavily immigrant communities of Sweden, Reich put the following message on his Twitter page: “Trump’s lies have consequences. 48 hrs after his comments on Sweden, riots broke out in an immigrant community.” Take a moment to appreciate just how fallacious his argument is. He contends that a foreign nation’s president’s comments were so inflammatory that these poor communities felt compelled to engage in mass violence. The issue with the argument that our “racism” causes immigrants, people of color, Muslims, (insert victim group here) to riot is that it assumes that these communities are on the very precipice of violent behavior and one triggering event is all it takes for them to explode in heinous acts. This is what President George W. Bush described as “the bigotry of low expectations.”

We’re done with the small stuff. Let’s now discuss the false claims he makes about the economy, the discipline he teaches at the premier public university in the world. Reich published an article in Salon stating that greedy capitalists had forgotten the “basic bargain at the heart of America” where employers paid employees enough to purchase the product they are selling. He claims that the recession of 1929 was caused by most of the economic gains going to rich elite (people like Reich himself) and not to the workers. A more articulate description of his argument is found in Karl Marx’s “Das Kapital.” This is an explicit falsehood. One brief look at the Historical Statistics of the United States of America would tell you that, in the years leading up to the Great Depression, wages across the board increased. In fact, labor’s share of the national economy  has risen in the years leading up to practically every recession and has fallen during recoveries, relative to the share of the capital.

Why is this man teaching at the university which, as we are repeatedly reminded, is the No. 1 public university in the world? He has a loyal following who respect or even, believe what he is preaching. Even though he occupied a high cabinet position in the Clinton administration, I believe that, at some point, a threshold is reached which, if crossed, should disqualify one from teaching some of the brightest minds in the world.

Unfortunately, there are forces within this university that would put political indoctrination over the facts. In my modest capacity as an opinion columnist, I hope to battle any emerging political hegemony in the university. I believe it is integral to a free society that there be an innate worth to the expression of my opinion. The hostility toward dissenting voices on college campuses everywhere is tremendously corrosive to our republic and it is this force I shall combat. I know that there is some segment of our student body that wants its opinions to be heard and respected.

Robert Reich is the example Wiktionary should cite while defining the idiom “the pot calling the kettle black.” He blasts CEOs for earning too much money while himself pocketing bucketloads of cash. He criticizes the President and Breitbart for “fake news” while himself disseminating misleading or outright false propaganda. His musings on the economy are based on inaccurate information. If Reich closed his eyes and tried to envision a hypocrite, a liar and a propagandist, he might hope to see President Trump. I think all he shall see is a mirror.

Rudra Reddy writes the Monday column on resisting indoctrination. Contact him at [email protected].

FEBRUARY 27, 2017