Biography

Two well-known columnists with wide-ranging backgrounds.

Robert Reich: Former U.S. Labor Secretary, Reich now serves as professor of public ...

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American Voices

John Kass: A judge prays for ex-con in court, and he is heard

March 3, 2015

The story about the ex-con who robbed a bank just so he'd be sent back to prison -- for a bed and three meals a day -- was heartbreaking.

  • Rachel Marsden: Nemtsov's Red Square murder a compelling mystery

    March 3, 2015

    PARIS -- Ever since Russian opposition figure Boris Nemtsov was gunned down while walking with a girlfriend near Moscow's Red Square last week, there has been rampant international speculation about who's responsible for the murder.

  • Robert B. Reich: Will the Democratic nominee for 2016 take on the moneyed interests?

    March 3, 2015

    It's seed time for the 2016 presidential election, when candidates try to figure out what they stand for and will run on.

  • John Kass: Cold weather brings out the stupid in TV, and sometimes in kids

    February 25, 2015

    If there's one thing more stupid than Chicagoans whining about the cold (as if they've never experienced February in the city by the lake), it's another one of those stupid weather stories.

  • Hollywood out of its political depth on Oscar night

    February 24, 2015

    PARIS -- The Academy Awards represent the annual celebration of the most formidable soft-power cultural force the world has ever known: Hollywood. If there's one thing that shouldn't be expected from Hollywood, it's depth -- particularly of the political kind. What we can expect instead is mostly pathetic pandering to the worst of emotivist "yay/boo" morality, masquerading as political insight.

  • Robert B. Reich: We're all becoming independent contractors

    February 24, 2015

    GM is worth around $60 billion and has more than 200,000 employees. Its front-line workers earn from $19 to $28.50 an hour, with benefits.

  • John Kass: Embattled Brian Williams, Hillary Clinton should swap war stories

    February 11, 2015

    If this NBC news anchor thing doesn't work out for Brian Williams, I've got the perfect job for the guy:

  • Rachel Marsden: The downside of globalization and an interconnected world

    February 10, 2015

    PARIS -- Massive interconnectivity in our era has ironically resulted in self-isolation, self-delusion and aggression -- for individuals and nation-states alike. Did anyone predict that the perception of close proximity fostered by globalization and interconnectivity might lead to blowback?

  • Robert B. Reich: Back to the 19th century

    February 10, 2015

    My recent column about the growth of on-demand jobs like Uber making life less predictable and secure for workers unleashed a small barrage of criticism from people who contend that workers get what they're worth in the market.

  • John Kass: Ernie Banks, the girl and the man in a wheelchair

    February 4, 2015

    Everyone who grew up in Chicago seems to have their own Ernie Banks story, and with memorial services held last week for the Cubs Hall of Fame player, we're in a remembering mood.

  • Rachel Marsden: Intelligence agencies must be able to fight terrorism in secret

    February 3, 2015

    PARIS -- Does anyone else miss the days when intelligence agencies were permitted to operate covertly and it was considered totally acceptable that they do so? It seems to be increasingly the case that Western countries are perceived as less than democratic if their traditionally covert operations aren't fully transparent to the public.

  • Robert B. Reich: The share-the-scraps economy

    February 3, 2015

    How would you like to live in an economy where robots do everything that can be predictably programmed in advance, and almost all profits go to the robots' owners?

  • John Kass: Super Bowl chant: 'Je suis Tom Brady!'

    January 27, 2015

    Je suis Tom Brady!

  • Robert B. Reich: Wall Street's threat to the American middle class

    January 27, 2015

    Presidential aspirants in both parties are talking about saving the middle class. But the middle class can't be saved unless Wall Street is tamed.

  • Rachel Marsden: Accused Russian spies come up short on intelligence

    January 27, 2015

    Federal prosecutors have filed espionage charges against three Russians allegedly working for Russia's foreign intelligence service, SVR. The only one without diplomatic immunity was arrested in the Bronx, N.Y., on Monday, while the other two have left the U.S. The federal complaint reveals some amusing realities of modern espionage.

  • John Kass: 'American Sniper' criticism makes for amusing theater

    January 21, 2015

    I've got to admit that it has been a barrel of fun watching the political left get its "Je suis Charlie" all tied up in knots over the movie "American Sniper."

  • Rachel Marsden: France needs no-nonsense approach to weeding out domestic terrorism

    January 20, 2015

    During a White House press conference last week in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, U.S President Barack Obama took the opportunity to school France on how to fight terrorism through social assimilation and approaches that don't involve the military or law enforcement. Ironically, he lectured the French while standing just a few miles away from Anacostia, the Washington, D.C., neighborhood for which the French government issued a travel warning in 2013 for its citizens to avoid, day or night.

  • The new compassionate conservatism

    January 20, 2015

    (c) 2015 By Robert Reich; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

  • Rachel Marsden: Terror attack in France rooted in entitlement

    January 13, 2015

    As member of the French media, and as a French resident and immigrant, last week's terrorist attack in Paris targeting the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo hit home literally and figuratively. Hopefully the political climate in the aftermath of the deadly attack can be leveraged to enact change on several fronts -- change that, up until now, has been resisted.

  • John Kass: WWII vet's death a textbook case of excessive force, but no hashtag for him

    January 13, 2015

    John Wrana, the 95-year-old World War II veteran killed by police, wasn't killed for selling illegal "loosie" cigarettes on the streets of New York.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why wages won't rise

    January 13, 2015

    Jobs are coming back, but pay isn't. The median wage is still lower than it was before the Great Recession when you adjust for inflation. And wages show no sign of turning up.

  • John Kass: Parents should be able to lay down the law -- without the law

    January 7, 2015

    The way America is going on the child discipline front -- cops in Florida are being asked to supervise corporal punishment of children -- soon no one will be able to understand a fundamental story of my childhood:

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama's video-game interventionism is no help to Europe

    January 6, 2015

    U.S. President Barack Obama, the premature Nobel Peace Prize winner, appears to have finally pried himself away from the gaming console and gone outside for some fresh air. Hopefully he'll stay there so Europe can recover from its hangover -- and from some of the most egregious, pointless and destructive interventionism in recent times.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why the Trans-Pacific Partnership is a pending disaster

    January 6, 2015

    Republicans, who now run Congress, say they want to cooperate with President Obama and point to the administration's Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, as the model. The only problem is that the TPP would be a disaster.

  • Rachel Marsden: Cheap oil could be a Trojan horse for America

    December 30, 2014

    "Subversion introduced from the outside." That's part of Encyclopedia Britannica's definition for a Trojan horse, the hollow structure that allowed Greek soldiers to penetrate the city of Troy and win the Trojan War. What if the drop in oil prices currently making everyone cheer at the pumps is exactly that -- a Trojan horse?

  • Robert B. Reich: Republicans' magical thinking is immune to the facts

    December 30, 2014

    According to reports, one of the first acts of the Republican-controlled Congress will be to fire Doug Elmendorf, director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, because he won't use "dynamic scoring" for his economic projections.

  • Remembering what matters on Christmas Eve

    December 23, 2014

    For all the children who should be loved always, but especially on this wondrous night, with our arms around them and a long good-night kiss on the temple, a kiss more precious than anything wrapped in a box.

  • Rachel Marsden: When does cyber crime become an act of cyberwar?

    December 23, 2014

    No consensus exists between the U.S. government and cyber security experts as to whether North Korea is responsible for the online dumping of Sony Pictures Entertainment's confidential business data and emails. Even if it could be proven beyond any doubt with uncontestable forensic evidence that this theft is also, in fact, an act of computer hacking, it still wouldn't technically constitute an act of cyberwar -- regardless of the identity of the perpetrator. So then, when would it?

  • The government problem

    December 23, 2014

    Some believe the central political issue of our era is the size of the government. They're wrong. The central issue is whom the government is for.

  • Robert B. Reich: The coin of the realm

    December 19, 2014

    A few years ago, hedge fund Level Global Investors made $54 million selling Dell Inc. stock based on insider information provided by a Dell employee. When charged with insider trading, Level Global Investors co-founder Anthony Chiasson claimed he didn't know where the tip originated.

  • John Kass: Gender selection in a brave new world

    December 17, 2014

    Jayne and Jon Cornwill, an Australian couple, recently came to America with a bit of trouble.

  • Rachel Marsden: Sony leaks, CIA report highlight the 'Snowden Privacy Paradox'

    December 16, 2014

    PARIS -- The ongoing leaks of confidential business data from Sony Pictures Entertainment and the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques by the Central Intelligence Agency have something in common. Call it the "Snowden Privacy Paradox."

  • Robert B. Reich: The coin of the realm

    December 16, 2014

    A few years ago, hedge fund Level Global Investors made $54 million selling Dell Inc. stock based on insider information provided by a Dell employee. When charged with insider trading, Level Global Investors co-founder Anthony Chiasson claimed he didn't know where the tip originated.

  • John Kass: Will Islamic State wring its hands over torture? Not likely

    December 10, 2014

    The Islamic State doesn't appear ready to follow our lead, so don't expect it to release its report on the morality of severing American heads any time soon.

  • Rachel Marsden: Is America headed for a Soviet-style collapse?

    December 9, 2014

    PARIS -- Hey, did you see U.S. President Barack Obama yukking it up on "The Colbert Report" this week, reminding Americans how much fun he'd be to have a beer with to help forget all the challenges being fumbled by his administration? Sorry to be such a killjoy, but according to the International Monetary Fund, China just quietly overtook the United States as the world's largest economy -- an honor the U.S. had held since 1872, when it bested Britain. Better make that beer a strong one.

  • Robert B. Reich: Wall Street's Democrats

    December 9, 2014

    In Washington's coming budget battles, sacred cows like the tax deductions for home mortgage interest and charitable donations are likely to be on the table along with potential cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

  • John Kass: 'The Ox-Bow Incident,' Ferguson and the rule of law

    December 3, 2014

    Remember "The Ox-Bow Incident"?

  • Rachel Marsden: Reforming the intelligence machine in an era of asymmetric warfare

    December 2, 2014

    PARIS -- There's no doubt that we are now well into a time when wars are won and lost on intelligence efforts. In an era of budgetary constraints, low appetite for overt foreign intervention, and highly asymmetric insurgency -- the likes of which we're currently seeing in Syria and Iraq -- trading a clunky mass army for increased intelligence efforts and surgical strikes makes sense.

  • Robert B. Reich: Patrolling the boundaries inside America

    December 2, 2014

    America is embroiled in an immigration debate that goes far beyond President Obama's executive order on undocumented immigrants.

  • John Kass: Ferguson a lesson lost on race

    November 26, 2014

    Of all the wild talk coming out of Ferguson and the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer -- and all that angry and predictable noise emanating from race hustlers like Al Sharpton -- there are two things I just can't shake.

  • Rachel Marsden: What Obama can learn from Hagel -- and from 'Mockingjay'

    November 25, 2014

    PARIS -- Less than 10 days before Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced his resignation, he addressed a memo to senior defense leaders.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why college is necessary but gets you nowhere

    November 25, 2014

    This is the time of year when high school seniors apply to college -- and when I get lots of mail about whether college is worth the cost.

  • John Kass: 'Fighting Jane' battled the machine and won

    November 19, 2014

    Did she ever get steamed up at a negative portrayal in the media -- and there were many -- then have a few drinks and call the reporters to give them angry editorial criticism?

  • Rachel Marsden: Will Obama finish as a statesman or a politician?

    November 18, 2014

    PARIS -- U.S. President Barack Obama was elected in 2008 as a politician, and he's on pace to finish his presidency as one, rather than as the statesman many presumed he would become.

  • Robert B. Reich: The growing wealth and clout of the richest .01 percent

    November 18, 2014

    The richest Americans hold more of the nation's wealth than they have in almost a century. What do they spend it on? As you might expect, personal jets, giant yachts, works of art and luxury penthouses.

  • John Kass: The stupid virus and the smart economist

    November 12, 2014

    Americans for generations have wondered why our politicians treat us as if we're stupid.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama is being economically outmaneuvered by China

    November 11, 2014

    PARIS -- U.S. President Barack Obama had barely set foot in Beijing for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit before he was cutting lip-service deals with China, seemingly unaware of that nation's long-term agenda and the American vulnerability that's ripe for exploitation. For the Chinese, it's not about trade anymore, but about making the U.S. dependent on China in the long term.

  • Robert B. Reich: The choice of the century

    November 11, 2014

    The president blames himself for the Democrats' big losses on Election Day.

  • John Kass: Even in defeat the president remains inscrutable

    November 6, 2014

    In "The Secret Life of Barack Obama," our story begins, as such stories often do, with our hero in a dream.

  • John Kass: Send in the clowns?

    November 5, 2014

    Coulrophobia is a terrible condition that can strike anyone, at any time, but especially if you're within reach of a weird grown man with white face makeup, perhaps a wig, floppy shoes and a big red nose.

  • Rachel Marsden: Is Chinese strategy the key to defeating Islamic State?

    November 5, 2014

    PARIS -- While the U.S. and its allies are struggling to figure out how to stop the Islamic State from metastasizing throughout the Middle East and beyond, China has been conspicuously absent from the containment efforts. Given that China is the largest beneficiary of oil contracts in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, you have to wonder why it can't seem to be bothered.

  • Rachel Marsden: Is Chinese strategy the key to defeating Islamic State?

    November 4, 2014

    PARIS -- While the U.S. and its allies are struggling to figure out how to stop the Islamic State from metastasizing throughout the Middle East and beyond, China has been conspicuously absent from the containment efforts. Given that China is the largest beneficiary of oil contracts in post-Saddam Hussein Iraq, you have to wonder why it can't seem to be bothered.

  • An Election Day carol

    November 3, 2014

    In the early hours of Election Day, before dawn reached the nation's capital, Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy was suddenly awakened by someone standing next to his bed.

  • John Kass: Democratic candidates have an Ebola problem

    October 29, 2014

    The Sexy Ebola Nurse costume with thigh-high stockings revealing ample flesh above the knee -- yellow boots optional -- is here just in time for the November midterm elections, and for just $60.

  • Rachel Marsden: Canadian attack prompts absurd reactions

    October 28, 2014

    PARIS -- Some warped minds believe that when a nation suffers a terrorist attack, it somehow deserved it and should set about doing some soul searching. Implicit in this argument is the notion that the attacker was somehow justified in his heinous actions -- there was no other option but to lash out violently.

  • Robert B. Reich: Politicians plagued with Empathy Deficit Disorder

    October 28, 2014

    Commenting on a recent student suicide at an Alaska high school, Alaska's Republican congressman, Don Young, said suicide didn't exist in Alaska before "government largesse" gave residents an entitlement mentality.

  • John Kass: Opportunity knocking for GOP -- but will party leaders squander it?

    October 22, 2014

    Wasn't it just yesterday that President Barack Obama extended his arms like some Hollywood Moses, promising his election would calm the seas and heal the planet?

  • Rachel Marsden: Provocative American artist miscalculates the French

    October 21, 2014

    Los Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy recently made international news by erecting a giant green sex toy in Paris' Place Vendome and calling it "Tree." Before the installation could officially open this week, some Paris residents forced the object's removal by cutting its support ropes. A week earlier, someone slapped McCarthy in the face at an event celebrating the sculpture and then ran off.

  • Paul McCarthy: Provocative American artist miscalculates the French

    October 21, 2014

    Los Angeles-based artist Paul McCarthy recently made international news by erecting a giant green sex toy in Paris' Place Vendome and calling it "Tree." Before the installation could officially open this week, some Paris residents forced the object's removal by cutting its support ropes. A week earlier, someone slapped McCarthy in the face at an event celebrating the sculpture and then ran off.

  • Robert B. Reich: Getting a grip on Ebola

    October 21, 2014

    We have to get a grip. Ebola is not a crisis in the United States. One person has died and two people are infected with his body fluids.

  • John Kass: Ebola no match for Dr. Nancy 'Soups' Snyderman

    October 15, 2014

    If you were just dying for soup -- and you were NBC medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman, bent on breaking an Ebola quarantine that you figured didn't really apply to you because you're so special -- what soup would it be?

  • Rachel Marsden: Political buffoonery is America's greatest security threat

    October 14, 2014

    There are at least two things that the public expects the government to get right, even when it fails at nearly everything else: public safety and national security. The Obama administration has a responsibility to protect its citizens. There is no excuse for the failures we're witnessing -- from the containment and eradication of Ebola to the containment and eradication of its ideological equivalent: radical Islamic extremism.

  • Robert B. Reich: American higher education skewed toward elite private universities

    October 14, 2014

    Imagine a system of college education supported by high and growing government spending on elite private universities that mainly educate children of the wealthy and upper-middle class, with low and declining government spending on public universities that educate large numbers of children from the working class and the poor.

  • John Kass: Political fictions no stranger than reality -- but at least they're less depressing

    October 8, 2014

    In an early scene on "Madam Secretary" -- a kinda Hillary Clinton political soap opera on CBS -- our heroine mucks horse manure out of a barn.

  • Rachel Marsden: Humanitarianism in the form of airstrikes

    October 7, 2014

    VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- A recent Ipsos Reid poll found that 64 percent of Canadians support the participation of Canadian Forces jets in airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq. What refreshing moral clarity. In reality, however, the use of force against Islamic State radicals could become the most complex campaign that Canada has ever known.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why we allow Big Pharma to rip us off

    October 7, 2014

    According to a new federal database put online last week, pharmaceutical companies and device makers paid doctors some $380 million in speaking and consulting fees over a five-month period in 2013.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama's blame game underscores U.S. intelligence problem

    September 30, 2014

    In a nationally televised interview that aired Sunday, U.S. President Barack Obama spoke of his director of national intelligence, James Clapper, the way a manager at a fast-food joint would speak of a grill cook who just botched a burger.

  • John Kass: NFL, Goodell sideline the concussion story

    September 30, 2014

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is a public relations genius.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why the economy is still failing most Americans

    September 30, 2014

    I was in Seattle recently to congratulate union and community organizers who helped that city enact the first $15-per-hour minimum wage in the country.

  • John Kass: Jimmy Fallon's coming, but where are the activists?

    September 24, 2014

    If Jimmy Fallon really wants to grab Mayor Rahm Emanuel's attention when he brings "The Tonight Show" to Chicago for another mutual ear-licking session, Jimmy might ask this:

  • Rachel Marsden: General Assembly an exercise in message-shaping

    September 23, 2014

    World leaders, some of whom are taking their shady human-rights records and diplomatic immunity out for some exercise, have descended upon New York City this week for the United Nations General Assembly. In this celebrated display of self-flagellation, leaders take unchallenged turns expressing what they want the masses to think, doing so from the safety of a Lower East Side tower. Their mere presence brings local traffic to a teeth-grinding halt, with the ripples of their actions expanding infinitely outward from there, like a stone tossed into a murky pond.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why ordinary people bear economic risks and Donald Trump doesn't

    September 23, 2014

    Thirty years ago, on its opening day in 1984, Donald Trump stood in a dark topcoat on the casino floor at Atlantic City's Trump Plaza, crowing that his new investment was the finest building in Atlantic City and possibly the nation.

  • Rachel Marsden: Has World War III already begun?

    September 16, 2014

    While recently commemorating the World War I centenary at an Italian military cemetery, Pope Francis declared: "Even today, after the second failure of another world war, perhaps one can speak of a third war, one fought piecemeal, with crimes, massacres, destruction." The pope's observation begs the question: If World War III has already started, would we even know it? Or would it only be evident in the rearview mirror?

  • Robert B. Reich: Berkeley vs. Big Soda

    September 16, 2014

    I was phoned the other night in middle of dinner by an earnest young man named Spencer, who said he was doing a survey.

  • John Kass: Obama needs to clarify murky Middle East mission

    September 15, 2014

    Can President Barack Obama lead a coalition to degrade or destroy the terrorists of the Islamic State?

  • John Kass: Send Goodell packing with Ray Rice, then call Condi

    September 10, 2014

    The NFL is all about making billions of dollars a year selling its brand of glitzy gladiatorial violence and power.

  • Robert B. Reich: The bankruptcy of Detroit and the division of America

    September 10, 2014

    Detroit is the largest city ever to seek bankruptcy protection, so its bankruptcy is seen as a potential model for other American cities now teetering on the edge.

  • Is the era of 'slackocracy' leadership nearing an end?

    September 9, 2014

    France is abuzz with the rumor that former center-right French President Nicolas Sarkozy is set to re-enter public life. Could the era of the chill bros be over already?

  • John Kass: Obama's eat-the-rich campaign hauled out for mid-terms

    September 2, 2014

    I'm not really into the political cannibal thing. And I'm old-fashioned enough to believe that eating humans -- even in metaphor -- is still a sin.

  • Rachel Marsden: Tweaking the agenda for Obama's Europe trip

    September 2, 2014

    U.S. President is headed to Europe this week. There used to be a time prior to his election when he would travel to Europe and inspire the masses -- mostly on the strength of their own idealistic projections. But now, never has a Nobel Peace Prize laureate seen so many global conflicts erupt on his watch, while mostly standing there slack-jawed like a spectator at a fireworks display.

  • Robert B. Reich: Back to college, the only gateway to the middle class

    September 2, 2014

    This week, millions of young people head to college and universities, aiming for a four-year liberal arts degree. They assume that degree is the only gateway to the American middle class.

  • Rachel Marsden: America needs a grand bargain with Russia to fight terrorism

    August 26, 2014

    It should have been a no-brainer for the U.S. and Russia to cooperate to fight Islamic radicals in the Middle East. But even if you place the high-jump bar on the ground, some people will still manage to trip over it -- then insist on going back and tripping over it again.

  • Robert B. Reich: Back to school, and to widening inequality

    August 26, 2014

    American kids are heading back to school. But the schools they're heading back to differ dramatically by family income.

  • John Kass: Jackie Robinson West, pardon the adult sympathy

    August 26, 2014

    To the Jackie Robinson West All-Stars:

  • John Kass: Chicago's Little League team worth watching

    August 20, 2014

    America tells stories to itself in images, funny ones, sad ones, selfies we send out over our phones with snarky comments.

  • Rachel Marsden: Hackers are after more than just personal info

    August 19, 2014

    A cyberattack on Community Health Systems Inc., a private hospital network, in April and June resulted in the theft of non-medical data of 4.5 million Americans, including names, addresses, birthdates, phone numbers and Social Security numbers, according to a new Securities and Exchange Commission filing. The attacks were attributed to Chinese hackers. There's justification for alarm, but not for the reasons you might think.

  • Robert B. Reich: The disease of American democracy

    August 19, 2014

    Americans are sick of politics. Only 13 percent approve of the job Congress is doing, a near-record low. The president's approval ratings are also in the basement.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama repeating past mistakes in Iraq

    August 12, 2014

    Despite its military supremacy, the U.S. under the command of President Barack Obama is at risk of having an upstart group of Islamic terrorists take over Iraq -- all because politically straitjacketed American military might has struggled against unrestrained guerrilla warfare, and the president has failed to absorb the lessons from America's past mistakes.

  • John Kass: Trip to becoming empty-nesters went too fast

    August 12, 2014

    They don't talk about the quiet in the house.

  • Robert B. Reich: The rebirth of stakeholder capitalism

    August 12, 2014

    In recent weeks, the managers, employees and customers of a New England chain of supermarkets called Market Basket have joined together to oppose the board of director's decision in June to oust the chain's popular chief executive, Arthur T. Demoulas.

  • Rachel Marsden: Separating cybersecurity hype from reality

    August 5, 2014

    LAS VEGAS -- The big players in the global information-security industry are intermingling with computer hackers this week at the annual Black Hat conference in Las Vegas. Even Chris Inglis, who stepped down as the deputy director of the National Security Agency earlier this year, is scheduled to attend the conference in his new capacity as an advisor to the American security-intelligence company Securonix. The purpose of the event is to reveal and discuss new threats and research in the field of cybersecurity.

  • Robert B. Reich: Workers who serve society aren't rewarded for dedication

    August 5, 2014

    What someone is paid has little or no relationship to what their work is worth to society.

  • John Kass: Obama, Emanuel need to put Chicago's kids first

    July 30, 2014

    On the Chicago block where that 3-year-old boy was shot in the stomach, a victim of the city's murderous gang wars, there was a woman watering her flowers.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama mugged by the realities of foreign policy

    July 29, 2014

    Barack Obama's foreign policy disasters are about what one might expect from a leftist community organizer elected to be leader of the free world. So many of the countries this administration has touched -- Ukraine, Libya, Iraq -- have descended into acute civil war on Obama's watch. It's worth asking why, exactly, this has been the case.

  • Robert B. Reich: The increasing irrelevance of corporate nationality

    July 29, 2014

    "You shouldn't get to call yourself an American company only when you want a handout from the American taxpayers," President Obama said last week.

  • John Kass: Illness threatens the best of barbecuers

    July 23, 2014

    This could be a terrifying tale right out of the Book of Meat Science Fiction, only this one isn't fiction.

  • Rachel Marsden: Kerry makes yet another dangerous rush to judgment

    July 22, 2014

    Here we go again with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry leveraging a tragedy to make another "strong case" based on limited evidence. We have already seen this in the case of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and chemical weapons. Now it's Russian President Vladimir Putin's turn for the global smear treatment.

  • Robert B. Reich: The rise of the non-working rich

    July 22, 2014

    In a new Pew poll, more than three-quarters of self-described conservatives believe "poor people have it easy because they can get government benefits without doing anything." In reality, most of America's poor work hard, often in two or more jobs. The real non-workers are the wealthy who inherit their fortunes. And their ranks are growing.

  • John Kass: LeBron's return proves he's a Midwesterner at heart

    July 15, 2014

    If you're from the Midwest, you probably hated LeBron James.

  • Rachel Marsden: Have intelligence agencies become too reliant on technology?

    July 15, 2014

    PARIS -- A newly leaked document stolen by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden last year reveals that one of the NSA's partner agencies within the "Five Eyes" Anglo-intelligence network -- Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), responsible for signals intelligence -- dedicated vast resources to fooling around on the Internet, according to journalist Glenn Greenwald. The GCHQ has reportedly developed tools capable of playing with the results of online polls; sending out spoof emails and Microsoft Office documents that, once opened, can grab and transmit files and info from a user's computer; collecting data from public profiles on LinkedIn and other social-networking websites; and discreetly increasing website traffic and rankings.

  • Robert B. Reich: The limits of corporate citizenship

    July 15, 2014

    Dozens of big U.S. corporations are considering leaving the United States in order to reduce their tax bills.

  • John Kass: Chicago Democrats a protected species on the national stage

    July 9, 2014

    Prominent Chicago Democrats have had an easy time with the national media for decades -- as easy as shaking a ring of keys to distract an anxious child in church.

  • Rachel Marsden: Humanitarianism can be an effective disguise for profiteering

    July 8, 2014

    PARIS -- Billionaire Hungarian-American oligarch George Soros is an extremely concerned humanitarian who can be counted on to put his considerable bank balance where his concerns are. Lately, those concerns have included Ukraine and other former Soviet satellite states; Syria; immigration rights in America; the U.S. banking system; and the Great Lakes region of Africa, where all the mining opportunities just happen to be. Perhaps he could lay off the generosity long enough for us to recover from it all.

  • Robert B. Reich: Freedom, power and the conservative mind

    July 8, 2014

    Last week the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Affordable Care Act, ruling that privately owned corporations don't have to offer their employees contraceptive coverage that conflicts with the corporate owners' religious beliefs.

  • John Kass: IRS emails 'lost' -- and so is the outrage

    July 1, 2014

    How does a nation lose its way?

  • Rachel Marsden: Is US being duped into funding jihadist startup?

    July 1, 2014

    PARIS -- The Islamic terrorist army often referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) has made a faster womb-to-superstardom ascension than Justin Bieber. Largely unheard of just a few weeks ago, the group is now the self-proclaimed new ruler of an Islamic caliphate, or republic, extending across Iraq and Syria. These countries currently have internationally recognized heads of state -- but, you know, whatever, man. It's not like U.S. President Barack Obama is going to stop ISIL. In fact, he's asking Congress to give it $500 million, under the guise of funding the "Syrian opposition."

  • Robert B. Reich: Hillary's hardest choice (and the Democrats' dilemma)

    July 1, 2014

    What's the reason for the tempest in the teapot of Hillary and Bill Clinton's personal finances?

  • John Kass: Soccer fans often feel pain -- and sometimes even a bite

    June 25, 2014

    In an exclusive interview, Raffaele Raia -- the noted Italian soccer aficionado from Oliveto Citra, near Salerno -- said America is missing only one thing to fully grasp World Cup soccer.

  • Russia and China subverting Obama's 'pivot' to Asia

    June 24, 2014

    PARIS -- The irony of recent U.S. foreign interventions is that despite Uncle Sam's best efforts, the ultimate benefactor ends up being America's primary economic rival in the area in question. It should come as no surprise that the two economic rivals who usually benefit are China and Russia, both absolute masters of subversion.

  • Robert B. Reich: America's real business leaders want to save capitalism

    June 24, 2014

    A few weeks ago I was visited in my office by the chairman of one of the country's biggest high-tech firms. He wanted to talk about the causes and consequences of widening inequality and the shrinking middle class, and what to do about it.

  • John Kass: World Cup hero a Chicagoan by blood, by tattoo

    June 18, 2014

    Chicago must truly be the most American of cities, and it's not because politicians keep saying it. John Brooks, the newest American soccer star in the World Cup, has testified to this fact.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obsession with Putin diverts Obama's attention from terrorism

    June 17, 2014

    PARIS -- The fact that U.S. President Barack Obama is putting hundreds of boots back onto the ground in Iraq to protect American interests is the result of some bad decisions and missed opportunities to correct course. Except that Russian President Vladimir Putin had already staked out the proper course -- and the Obama administration seems intent on turning every action into a political spitball aimed at getting Putin's attention.

  • Robert B. Reich: The three biggest right-wing lies about poverty

    June 17, 2014

    Rather than confront poverty by extending jobless benefits to the long-term unemployed, endorsing a higher minimum wage or supporting jobs programs, conservative Republicans are taking a different tack.

  • John Kass: Hillary: I was once poor like you

    June 11, 2014

    Hillary Clinton graced Chicago this week on her Planet Hillary Global Domination Tour as she seeks the presidency.

  • Rachel Marsden: CIA makes an ill-advised foray into the Twitterverse

    June 10, 2014

    PARIS -- On June 6, the Central Intelligence Agency joined the social media platform Twitter with its first tweet: "We can neither confirm nor deny that this is our first tweet." Presumably this is an attempt by the agency to develop its "brand." Here's why this is a really bad idea:

  • Robert B. Reich: Corporate wrongdoers must be prosecuted as a deterrent

    June 10, 2014

    General Motors has fired 15 employees after an internal investigation into the company's handling of defective ignition switches that lead to at least 13 fatalities.

  • John Kass: Our culture behind Wisconsin girls' stabbing case

    June 4, 2014

    What kind of culture produced those two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls charged with stabbing a classmate 19 times?

  • Rachel Marsden: Bergdahl swap a retro moment in the new Cold War

    June 3, 2014

    PARIS -- U.S. President Barack Obama recently agreed to the release of five Taliban leaders from Guantanamo Bay prison in exchange for an alleged U.S. military deserter. It's great trade for the soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who will be reunited with his loved ones back in America. Nonetheless, it's a bad precedent for America.

  • Robert B. Reich: Freedom Summer II

    June 3, 2014

    I spent several days in New York last week with students from around the country who were preparing to head into the heartland to help organize Walmart workers for better jobs and wages. (Full familial disclosure: My son Adam is one of the leaders.)

  • John Kass: 'Obama: Like a Boss' -- bumper sticker for a true Chicagoan

    May 28, 2014

    The Democrats have it all wrong when it comes to one of their choices for a new President Barack Obama bumper sticker:

  • Rachel Marsden: Why women -- and voters -- prefer jerks to fops

    May 27, 2014

    PARIS -- An intriguing social phenomenon prompted a horrific killing spree in Santa Barbara, California, last week, and the same phenomenon might help explain the surprising results of last weekend's European Parliament elections.

  • Rachel Marsden: Why women -- and voters -- prefer jerks to fops

    May 27, 2014

    PARIS -- An intriguing social phenomenon prompted a horrific killing spree in Santa Barbara, California, last week, and the same phenomenon might help explain the surprising results of last weekend's European Parliament elections.

  • Robert B. Reich: The perils of America's hard-charging capitalism

    May 27, 2014

    For years Americans have assumed that our hard-charging capitalism is better than the soft-hearted version found in Canada and Europe. American capitalism might be a bit crueler, but it generates faster growth and higher living standards overall. Canada and Europe's "welfare-state socialism" is doomed.

  • John Kass: Fake royal show among bottom of the heap

    May 21, 2014

    With the Russians on the prowl, the Chinese hacking into our computers, Boko Haram in Nigeria triggering fear and celebrity hashtags, the last thing America needs is to lose a trusted ally:

  • Rachel Marsden: U.S., China go private with the Cold War

    May 20, 2014

    PARIS -- The U.S. Justice Department filed charges this week against five Chinese military officers, accusing them of hacking American companies to steal secrets, including the nuclear energy company Westinghouse. In March, reports surfaced that the National Security Agency had hacked and spied on the Chinese telecom company Huawei.

  • Robert B. Reich: Why American women are endangered

    May 20, 2014

    According to a report released earlier this month in the widely respected health research journal The Lancet, the United States now ranks 60th out of 180 countries on maternal deaths occurring during pregnancy and childbirth.

  • John Kass: Karl Rove's boneheaded swipe at Hillary Clinton

    May 14, 2014

    Many of you know that I'm not Hillary Clinton's biggest fan.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama's immigration reform is in need of reforming

    May 13, 2014

    PARIS -- As a chronic immigrant, I'm loath to support immigration policies that might make life difficult for anyone seeking to legitimately integrate into and contribute to an adoptive nation. Nonetheless, as the Obama administration attempts to reform U.S. immigration policies, there needs to be some standard of selection for immigrants. That standard should be nothing more or less than meritocracy.

  • Robert B. Reich: The six principles of the new populism

    May 13, 2014

    We're five years into a so-called recovery that's been a bonanza for the rich but a bust for the middle class, which is fueling a new populism. "The game is rigged and the American people know that. They get it right down to their toes," says Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

  • John Kass: Don't tune out the newest Benghazi developments

    May 6, 2014

    Why is Benghazi important to Americans?

  • Rachel Marsden: Trans-Pacific Partnership a bad deal for America

    May 6, 2014

    PARIS -- The good news is that the Obama administration plans to create a lot of new jobs. The bad news is that those jobs will mostly be in Asia.

  • Robert B. Reich: The four biggest right-wing lies about inequality

    May 6, 2014

    Even though French economist Thomas Piketty has made an airtight case that we're heading toward levels of inequality not seen since the days of the 19th-century robber barons, right-wing conservatives haven't stopped lying about what's happening and what to do about it.

  • John Kass: Sterling's race case a movie of our age

    April 30, 2014

    An unwritten American novel is playing out in Los Angeles. It's about rich, whiny racist Donald Sterling, the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers. And it's about his cooing kitty-cat of a girlfriend, who infuriated him by bringing black people to his games.

  • Robert B. Reich: The distributional games

    April 17, 2014

    Every year I ask the students in my “Wealth and Poverty” class to play a simple game. I have them split up into pairs and imagine that I’m giving one of them $1,000. They can keep some of the money only on condition they reach a deal with their partner on how it’s to be divided between them.

  • John Kass: Researchers diagnose conservatism, but is there a cure?

    April 8, 2014

    Thanks to learned scientists, I've discovered that I suffer from a mental problem afflicting millions of Americans.

  • Cuban Twitter project was a tweet in the dark

    April 8, 2014

    PARIS -- First, Cubans would receive fun little text messages about baseball and music. Then, one day -- bam! -- they would learn via cell phone that they'd been living in a dictatorship for over half a century and would realize that it was time to overthrow the regime.

  • Robert B. Reich: The balance wheel of democracy

    April 8, 2014

    Last week a majority of the Supreme Court decided that the First Amendment protects the right of individuals to pour as much as $3.6 million into a political party or $800,000 into a political campaign.

  • John Kass: Ruling could mean future shock for college football

    April 1, 2014

    Even a former cornerback who failed to graduate from Whatsamatta U. can deduce what will happen to college football in America.

  • Rachel Marsden: Export opportunity to Ukraine, not the nanny state

    April 1, 2014

    PARIS -- In an apparent effort to fight bribery with even more overt state-sanctioned bribery, the battle for the hearts and minds of Ukraine has devolved into two suitors -- the West and Russia -- flashing their respective bank account statements. How obscene. I don't recall U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev giving dueling speeches in the Cold War 1980s that made it sound like Poland was up on the auction block in a bidding war at Christie's.

  • Rachel Marsden: Why this Cold War reboot is different

    April 1, 2014

    PARIS -- Russia and the West are both warning of the risk of escalation to a civil war in Ukraine between pro-Russian and pro-Western factions. Rhetoric is heating up, with each side referring to members of the other’s ground team as “terrorists,” setting the stage to justify any potential opposition force. A Russian fighter jet drew the Pentagon’s ire by repeatedly buzzing an American warship in the Black Sea. And just like that, we’re back to an era of “bad guys” that Hollywood has never been able to get past. It’s the 1980s all over again. Where are my neon legwarmers and Sony Walkman?

  • Robert B. Reich: Slouching toward oligarchy

    April 1, 2014

    America is not yet an oligarchy, but that's where Charles and David Koch and a few other billionaires are taking us.

  • John Kass: If we raise minimum wage, why stop at $10 an hour?

    March 25, 2014

    When President Barack Obama and other Democrats began talking about raising the minimum wage to $10 an hour, I didn't believe them.

  • Robert B. Reich: The new tribalism and the decline of the nation-state

    March 25, 2014

    We are witnessing a reversion to tribalism around the world, away from nation-states. The same pattern can be seen even in America -- especially in American politics.

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama's critics aren't communists, Russia isn't the Soviet Union

    March 25, 2014

    PARIS -- There's no faster or easier way to shut down legitimate debate than to slap an undesirable label on someone based on their views. Criticize same-sex marriage and you're a bigot. Take issue with immigration policy and you're dismissed as a racist. In the latest incarnation of this phenomenon, any conservative who dares to criticize U.S. President Barack Obama's stance against Russia on the issue of Ukraine runs the risk of being called a Putin-loving communist.

  • Robert B. Reich: The 'you're paid what you're worth' myth

    March 18, 2014

    It's often assumed that people are paid what they're worth. According to this logic, minimum wage workers aren't worth more than the $7.25 an hour they now receive. If they were worth more, they'd earn more. Any attempt to force employers to pay them more will only kill jobs.

  • Rachel Marsden: Sanctions against Russia symbolic of a hollow culture

    March 18, 2014

    PARIS -- There are fewer things more pathetic than watching someone take a running dive off a high board only to end in a spectacular belly flop and still think that they're scoring a perfect 10. That's U.S. President Barack Obama right now on the issue of sanctions against Russia. It's a worrying attitude that increasingly permeates Western culture.

  • John Kass: In the cheese wars, call me a traitor

    March 18, 2014

    With so much uncertainty in the world, it's upsetting to see American politicians, backed by cheesy special interests, trying to start a war with Europe.

  • John Kass: Annoying people: There ought to be a law

    March 12, 2014

    It's clear that Americans are irritated by some of our annoying, stupid, idiotic laws.

  • John Kass: Social worker still mourns loss of 12-year-old

    March 11, 2014

    Not every child can be saved.

  • Robert B. Reich: The great U-turn

    March 11, 2014

    Do you recall a time in America when the income of a single schoolteacher or baker or salesman or mechanic was enough to buy a home, have two cars and raise a family?

  • Rachel Marsden: Obama late to the realpolitik table in Saudi Arabia

    March 11, 2014

    PARIS -- Later this month, U.S. President Barack Obama will visit Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Here's hoping he decides to stay home and help his daughters with their homework instead.

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