30 Priceless Robert B. Reich Quotes

Robert Reich is an American political economist, professor, and author. Publishing more than a dozen books, Reich is known for his many political and philosophical positions. Here is a look at some of the best Robert B. Reich quotes to remember.

“A funny thing happened to the First Amendment on its way to the public forum. According to the Supreme Court, money is now speech and corporations are now people. But when real people without money assemble to express their dissatisfaction with the political consequences of this, they’re treated as public nuisances and evicted.”

“A smaller government reflecting the needs of the middle class and poor is superior to a big government reflecting the needs of the privileged and powerful.”

“Along with individual responsibility goes some societal responsibility to enable young people and their parents to do what they need to do. Otherwise, what is a society?”

“At the same time, most of what government does that helps them is now so deeply woven into the thread of daily life that it’s no longer recognizable as government.”

“Being rich now means having enough money that you don’t have to encounter anyone who isn’t.”

“Community colleges are great bargains. They avoid the fancy amenities four-year liberal arts colleges need in order to lure the children of the middle class.”


“Economic bullying takes many forms but almost always preys on individuals and families that have little or no power and are at the mercy of those who do.”

“Few ideas have more profoundly poisoned the minds of more people than the notion of a “free market” existing somewhere in the universe, into which government “intrudes.”"

“Figure out for yourself what you want to be really good at, know that you’ll never really satisfy yourself that you’ve made it, and accept that that’s okay.”

“Globalization and free trade do spur economic growth, and they lead to lower prices on many goods.”

“Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and the rest of the Ivy League are worthy institutions, to be sure, but they’re not known for educating large numbers of poor young people.”

“I believe that if we dispense with mythologies that have distracted us from the reality we find ourselves in, we can make capitalism work for most of us rather than for only a relative handful.”

“I do not expect to see monopoly restrain itself. If there are men in this country big enough to own the government of the United States, they are going to own it.”

“If you took the greed out of Wall Street, all you’d have left is pavement.”

“It is no great feat for an economy to create a large number of very-low-wage jobs. Slavery, after all, was a full employment system.”

“It is still possible to find people who believe that government policy did not end the Great Depression and undergird the Great Prosperity, just as it is possible to uncover people who do not believe in evolution.”

“It turns out that what money buys has rapidly diminishing emotional returns … As long as we’re not destitute, happiness depends less on getting what we want than appreciating what we already have.”

“It’s no mere coincidence that over the last century the top earners’ share of the nation’s total income peaked in 1928 and 2007—the two years just preceding the biggest downturns.”

“Keynes declared capitalism the best system ever devised to achieve a civilized economic society. But he recognized in it two major faults—“its failure to provide for full employment and its arbitrary and inequitable distribution of wealth and incomes.”

“News and images move so easily across borders that attitudes and aspirations are no longer especially national. Cyber-weapons, no longer the exclusive province of national governments, can originate in a hacker’s garage.”

“Our young people – their capacities to think, understand, investigate, and innovate – are America’s future.”

“Over the long term, the only way we’re going to raise wages, grow the economy, and improve American competitiveness is by investing in our people – especially their educations.”

“Powerlessness can be a self-fulfilling prophesy. There is much that is wrong with America. But it will only be made right only if we force change to occur.”

“Rather than subsidize ‘American’ exporters, it makes more sense to subsidize any global company – to the extent it’s adding to its exports from the United States.”

“Technology is changing so fast that knowledge about specifics can quickly become obsolete. That’s why so much of what technicians learn is on the job.”

“The idea of a “free market” separate and distinct from government has functioned as a useful cover for those who do not want the market mechanism fully exposed. They have had the most influence over it and would rather keep it that way. The mythology is useful precisely because it hides their power.”

“The largest party in America, by the way, is neither the Democrats nor the Republicans. It’s the party of non-voters.”

“The problem is that the choice we make in the market don’t fully reflect our values as citizens. We might make different choices if we understood the social consequences of our purchases or investments and if we knew all other consumers and investors would join us in forbearing from certain great deals whose social consequence were abhorrent to us.”

“The problem was not that Americans spent beyond their means but that their means had not kept up with what the larger economy could and should have been able to provide them. the American economy had been growing briskly, and America’s middle class naturally expected to share in that growth. But it didn’t. A larger and larger portion of the economy’s winnings had gone to people at the top.”

“The simultaneous rise of both the working poor and non-working rich offers further evidence that earnings no longer correlate with effort.”

In this keynote presented by Robert Reich, the future of America’s economy and pending economic crisis is presented from his book, ‘Aftershock.’ Reich highlights the main reasons behind his speculation and how to combat the structural deficiencies that exist in America’s economy.

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