Lee and Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich Discuss Economy and Iraq

Leereich.jpgCongresswoman Barbara Lee (CA-09) and former Secretary of Labor Dr. Robert Reich sat before an audience of 250 on Saturday, September 20th and discussed the future of American and the need for crafting a more cogent and inclusive economic policy.
The discussion, held at the Oakland Museum, also centered on what role the 9th Congressional District can play in ending the occupation in Iraq and the financial crisis that has prompted Congress to consider a massive, $700 billion bailout for mortgage markets on Wall Street.
Reich said he didn’t oppose the bailout plan that was being debated in Congress, but added that it’s imperative that the federal government attach condition on the bailout package that discourages “huge, irresponsible decisions” that lie at the root of the problems on Wall Street.
“I’m not against bailout that are necessary and bailouts that have conditions on them,” said Reich, who served as secretary of labor under the Clinton Administration and is presently a professor of Public Policy at the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley.
Reich said he would prefer that Congress consider bankruptcy reorganization plan that doesn’t pass the bailout burden onto taxpayers. Reich added that he is concerned that a failed bailout could cost taxpayers trillions of dollars, send interest rates soaring, further devaluing the dollar, and increase the coast of borrowing money abroad. “When a lot of money is sloshing around, some really stupid things are going to happen,” Reich said. “When interest rates go down so far and money is so easy to access, what you need is regulation and oversight.”
Congresswoman Lee agreed with Reich, but added that criminal charges should be brought against Christopher Cox, the former Orange County congressman who heads the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Dr. Reich has been a longtime friend of Congresswoman Lee. He has served in three national administrations and has authored eleven books, including “The Work of Nations,” which has been translated into 22 languages, “The Future of Success,”  “Locked in the Cabinet,” and his current bestseller, “Supercapitalism: The Transformation of Business, Democracy and Everyday Life.”
As the nation’s 22nd secretary of labor, Dr. Reich implemented the Family and Medial Leave Act, headed the administration’s successful effort to raise the minimum wage, secured workers’ pensions and launched job-training programs, one-stop career centers and school-to-work initiatives. A 1996 poll of cabinet experts conducted by Hearst newspapers rated him the most effective cabinet secretary during the Clinton administration.