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Sat Aug 2, 2014, 11:03 PM

Work and Worth by Robert Reich

Saturday, August 2, 2014

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

Does anyone seriously believe hedge-fund mogul Steven A. Cohen is worth the $2.3 billion he raked in last year, despite being slapped with a $1.8 billion fine after his firm pleaded guilty to insider trading?

On the other hand, what’s the worth to society of social workers who put in long and difficult hours dealing with patients suffering from mental illness or substance abuse? Probably higher than their average pay of $18.14 an hour, which translates into less than $38,000 a year.

How much does society gain from personal-care aides who assist the elderly, convalescents, and persons with disabilities? Likely more than their average pay of $9.67 an hour, or just over $20,000 a year.

What’s the social worth of hospital orderlies who feed, bathe, dress, and move patients, and empty their ben pans? Surely higher than their median wage of $11.63 an hour, or $24,190 a year.

http://robertreich.org/post/93632709170

20 replies, 2548 views

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Response to Crewleader (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 12:37 AM

1. 1000 recs for this one. Yes, yes, yes...

I swear, the next person who uses the phrase "unskilled labor" around me will get a poke in the eye.

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Response to Crewleader (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 12:59 AM

2. Oops!

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Response to Crewleader (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 07:51 AM

3. Bob, the champion of low wages and traitor to labor

 

Continues to pretend that the policies he so dearly loves and advocates for are not why these people are paid so little...delusional or liar?

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Response to pipoman (Reply #3)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 04:39 PM

6. It's my understanding he advocates a $15 / hr. minimum wage and supports labor unions.

???

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Response to pinto (Reply #6)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 07:50 PM

10. Oh? Is that what he's saying these days? lol

 

Did he mention he has to advocate for $15 burger flippers because he sold the good jobs out? Did he mention he supports unions unless someone pays him not to? How does one disregard the wishes of 90+ percent of labor union members while employed as the labor union members top government official, yet support labor unions? No, he's a traitor and a 1% sellout tool.

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Response to pipoman (Reply #10)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 08:19 PM

11. I'm interested in follow up. Any citations / links for further info? Thanks.

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Response to pinto (Reply #11)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 08:42 PM

12. Here's a pretty concisely composed piece...

 

Apparently, some people think it's big news that Robert Reich has decided to publicly endorse Barack Obama. We shouldn't be surprised. For months now, Reich has been criticizing Hillary Clinton on his blog and elsewhere, distorting her policies and her positions. He's criticized Senator Clinton's solutions on the foreclosure crisis, on health care and trade. He's been in the Obama camp for some time. 

Despite his reputation as a liberal and a friend of working men and women, Reich knows how to walk both sides of the street. I recall that he rarely, if ever, mentioned unions during his four years as Secretary of Labor. He has no problem backing proposals that cheer business more than labor, like ending the corporate income tax. If you read his recent book, Supercapitalism, you would think Steve Forbes was the writer. But no, it's the former Secretary of Labor calling for eliminating a tax that helps keep down the tax burden on working men and women across this nation. Does Senator Obama support that Reich idea? Is eliminating the corporate income tax going to be part of the "change we can believe in"? 

Reich says that corporate responsibility is counterproductive. He thinks it's a distraction. That's beautiful. Here we have a former Secretary of Labor, someone who should know better, taking the GOP line that corporations need to focus on making money and forget about everything else. The movement for social responsibility has promoted ethical decision-making in business, community development programs, day-care centers, HIV-AIDS training, family-friendly workplaces, and more. To suggest that those developments are a distraction from the responsibility of corporations to amass profits for shareholders, as Secretary Reich does in his book, is shameful. 

So is his support for NAFTA. Reich says unfair trade pacts bear no responsibility for the decline in manufacturing jobs in the U.S. Two months ago, Reich wrote that "it's a shame the Democratic candidates for president feel they have to make trade - specifically NAFTA - the enemy of blue-collar workers and the putative cause of their difficulties. NAFTA is not to blame." He's wrong on NAFTA, just as Obama's chief economic advisor Professor Goolsbee was wrong on NAFTA. 

http://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/97450

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Response to pipoman (Reply #12)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 09:24 PM

14. A quick search found these quotes, not sure if they are still pertinent. Yet thay are well-stated.

Some caused me to take a second look. Overall though, it seems he's got some good points of view. ~ pinto

“When Republicans recently charged the President with promoting 'class warfare,' he answered it was 'just math.' But it's more than math. It's a matter of morality. Republicans have posed the deepest moral question of any society: whether we're all in it together. Their answer is we're not. President Obama should proclaim, loudly and clearly, we are.”

― Robert B. Reich

“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.”

― Robert B. Reich, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future

“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.”

― Robert B. Reich

“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.”

― Robert B. Reich, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future

“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”

― Robert B. Reich

“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.”

― Robert B. Reich, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future

“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.”

― Robert B. Reich

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

― Robert B. Reich, Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future

https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/43932.Robert_B_Reich


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Response to pinto (Reply #14)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 09:35 PM

16. Actions speak louder than words. ...

 

He speaks populist and does corporatist...

oh, and his tool status is demonstrated by his constant yammering idealist populist script because he has been discarded by those who used him while he actually could do something. Frankly i would be satisfied if he would just publicly admit his trade policy is a failure for US labor. ..

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Response to pipoman (Reply #16)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 09:41 PM

17. How so? From what I can find he advocated and sponsored some pretty populist / progressive actions.

How does he do corporatist? Not sure what your point is. I feel I'm missing something.

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Response to Crewleader (Original post)

Sun Aug 3, 2014, 10:04 AM

4. Reich makes a specific proposal

That the government forgive student debt of those who go into "social work, child care, elder care, nursing, and teaching."

Doesn't solve the whole problem -- but it's a step in the right direction.

With a cooperating Congress, could be done immediately. Get Out the Vote this year!

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Response to Crewleader (Original post)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 04:06 PM

5. There is no job of so little worth that it should not provide a living wage.

This is my first post on this site, and I am not fully aware of the protocols, so if this violates any, my apologies. I am a big fan of Robert Reich and I could not resist responding to his post. I have a chapter in a book I have just completed and hope to have published in the near future, "Let's Do What Works and Call it Capitalism," in which I argue the minimum wage should be doubled. The entire chapter, along with the Table of Contents and Introduction, are posted at http://www.dailykos.com/blog/Dan%20Riker/

The chapter opens with these quotes:

“A man must always live by his work, and his wages must at least be sufficient to maintain him, They must even upon most occasions be somewhat more; otherwise it would be impossible for him to bring up a family.”

- Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

“We stand for a living wage. Wages are subnormal if they fail to provide a living for those who devote their time and energy to industrial occupations. The monetary equivalent of a living wage varies according to local conditions, but must include enough to secure the elements of a normal standard of living--a standard high enough to make morality possible, to provide for education and recreation, to care for immature members of the family, to maintain the family during periods of sickness, and to permit of reasonable saving for old age.”

- Theodore Roosevelt, National Progressive Party Convention, 1912

“When someone works for less pay than she can live on – when, for example, she goes hungry so that you can eat more cheaply and conveniently – then she has made a great sacrifice for you, she has made you a gift of some part of her abilities, her health, and her life. The 'working poor,' as they are approvingly termed, are in fact the major philanthropists of our society. They neglect their own children so that the children of others will be cared for; they live in substandard housing so that other homes will be shiny and perfect; they endure privation so that inflation will be low and stock prices high. To be a member of the working poor is to be an anonymous donor, a nameless benefactor, to everyone else.”

- Barbara Ehrenreich, Nickel and Dimed, 2001

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Response to danriker (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 05:34 PM

7. Welcome To the Forum, Sir

I will take a look at your chapter, and look forward to many more posts by you here.

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Response to The Magistrate (Reply #7)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 06:47 PM

8. Thanks

I am sorry I didn't discover this site much sooner.

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Response to danriker (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 07:25 PM

9. Great post! Welcome to DU!

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Response to danriker (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 08:55 PM

13. It's Great To Meet You danriker

It's always nice to have another fan of Robert Reich and A Very Big Welcome To DU!

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Response to Crewleader (Reply #13)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 04:10 PM

19. Reich citations in my book

I have two citations to works of Robert Reich in my book, Let's Do What Works and Call it Capitalism. In my section on laissez-faire capitalism and social darwinists, I refer readers to Beyond Outrage for more detail. In discussing economic inequality, I reference his movie, which I think is terrific.

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Response to danriker (Reply #19)

Thu Aug 7, 2014, 10:55 PM

20. Wonderful danriker

I can bet Robert Reich will be honored. Thank you for introducing yourself and letting us all know of your book.

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Response to danriker (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 09:28 PM

15. Welcome danriker. Somewhat belatedly, but welcome.

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Response to danriker (Reply #5)

Wed Aug 6, 2014, 11:36 PM

18. Thanks for your post!

And you're doing just fine! Welcome to DU, danriker! It's great to have you with us!

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