Former labour Secretary Robert Reich is currently taking questions from anyone on Reddit.
It’s really awesome.
Check out this response to a question about his relationship with Bill Clinton:
“I’ve known him since he was 22. At Oxford, as grad students, we didn’t inhale together.”
We’re assuming that “didn’t inhale” is a euphemism.
Check out the full conversation here. We’ll post more highlights momentarily.
UPDATE (6:21 PM): More nuggets of Reich from Reddit:
“We can’t get true financial reform until we constrain Wall Street’s vast reservoir of money from corrupting our democracy. In fact, we can’t get much reform anywhere — health care, energy, defence, etc. — without limiting the effects of big money in politics. (That’s why I agreed to become chair of an organisation called “Common Cause,” a citizen’s group dedicated to getting money out of politics.)”
Asked whether Obama has consulted “progressive economists”:
“Krugman and I met with him last January. Joe Stiglitz was also at that meeting. Haven’t heard from the President since then.”
Asked for the “single most important piece of advice you would give young voters”:
“Try to avoid cynicism about politics, government, and all the major institutions of our democracy. (That may be hard at a time like this, but if you’re cynical at your age, you’ll be wasted by the time you’re mine.) Best way to educate yourselves is to read my books (my books are the kind of books that once you put them down you can’t pick them up), read the NYT every day, and read the Wall Street Journal’s editorial and oped pages so you learn the opposite of what’s truthful.“
Asked to suggest a “counterpoint” to his own books:
“Almost anything by Milton Friedman. He’s rigorous and intellectually honest, and comes out at a very different place from me — mainly because we start from different premises about human nature and the meaning of a good society.”
Asked how he would approach this economy:
“I’d increase marginal taxes on the wealthy — not only to help bring down the long-term debt and deficit but also to restore some balance to our society. It can’t be healthy when CEOs are takiing home 300 times what average workers are taking home (40 years ago it was closer to 30 times).”
“I’d revive the Depression-era Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corp, to hire the long-term unemployed — put them to work rebuilding our crumbling highways, ports, bridges, school buildings, parks, playgrounds.”
Asked about taxes rates on the wealthy:
“I fear it’s mostly due to the greater and greater political potency of the very rich. Their money is now flooding politics. Blame the Supreme Court’s grotesque ‘Citizens United v. FEC’ decision, combined with lax enforcement of election laws.”
Go ask him a question!