Robert Reich On 'Saving Capitalism': Citizen Activism Is Giving Me Hope | Morning Joe | MSNBC

Robert Reich On 'Saving Capitalism': Citizen Activism Is Giving Me Hope | Morning Joe | MSNBC
    >>> MY FRIENDS, WE ARE ON THE WAY OF BECOMING A TWO-TIERED
    SOCIETY, IMPOSED OF A FEW WINNERS AND A LARGER GROUP OF
    AMERICANS LEFT BEHIND WHOSE ANGER AND WHOSE DISILLUSIONMENT
    IS EASILY MANIPULATED. ONCE UNBOTTLED, MASS RESENTMENT
    CAN POISON THE VERY FABRIC OF SOCIETY, THE MORAL INTEGRITY OF
    A SOCIETY, REPLACING AMBITION WITH ENVY, REPLACING TOLERANCE
    WITH HATE. >> SOME PROPHETIC WORDS THERE
    FROM FORMER LABOR SECRETARY ROBERT REICH SPEAKING BACK IN
    1994. THAT SPEECH IS INCLUDED IN THE
    NEW NETFLIX DOCUMENTARY "SAVING CAPITALISM" BASED ON HIS BOOK BY
    THE SAME NAME. ROBERT REICH JOINS US NOW,
    PROFESSOR OF PUBLIC POLICY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA AT
    BERKELEY. THAT WAS ALMOST CHILLING TO HEAR
    THOSE WORDS, ESPECIALLY LOOKING AT TODAY BECAUSE RECENTMENT CAN
    ALSO BE TAKEN ADVANTAGE OF. >> IT HAS BEEN TAKEN ADVANTAGE
    OF. LOOKING 20 YEARS BACK, THERE'S
    SOME PEOPLE AT THE TABLE WHO I REMEMBER TALKING WITH 20 YEARS
    BACK, ABOUT SOME OF THESE ISSUES, WIDENING INEQUALITY, THE
    STAGNATION OF WAGES AND PEOPLE BECOMING ANGRY POLITICALLY AND
    ALSO THE RIGGING OF THE GAME. 20 YEARS LATER OR 18 YEARS
    LATER, 17 YEARS LATER, THOSE THEMES BECOME MUCH MORE CENTRAL
    TO AMERICAN POLITICS BECAUSE PEOPLE REALLY DO BELIEVE -- AND
    THIS IS NOT JUST TRUMP. IF IT WEREN'T FOR DONALD TRUMP
    WE'D HAVE SOMEBODY ELSE. WE HAVE DEMAGOGUES LINED UP.
    IF WE DON'T GET THIS SYSTEM WORKING FOR MORE PEOPLE AND
    PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THEY HAVE A CHANCE TO BECOME WINNERS IN THE
    SYSTEM, WE'RE GOING TO HAVE DEMAGOGUES FOREVER.
    >> I THINK WE HAVE TO IDENTIFY, MR. SECRETARY, WEIGHT MEANS TO
    HAVE A RIGGED ECONOMY SO PEOPLE KNOW HOW TO APPROACH IT, ATTACK
    IT AND SOLVE THOSE PROBLEMS. FROM WHERE YOU SIT, HOW IS THE
    ECONOMY RIGGED? >> IT'S RIGGED BECAUSE BIG MONEY
    HAS INVADED POLITICS IN A BIG, BIG WAY.
    AND THAT BIG MONEY BUYS FAVORS, LAWS, REGULATION, TAX FAVORS,
    SUBSIDIES, BAILOUTS. IT BUYS ALMOST EVERYTHING, EVEN
    IF YOU LOOK AT SOMETHING THAT IS SUPPOSED TO BE NEUTRAL LIKE A
    BANKRUPTCY SYSTEM. YOU KNOW IF YOU'RE A STUDENT,
    YOU A STUDENT LOAN OR SOMEBODY WHO CAN'T PAY ON YOUR HOME, YOU
    CAN'T USE BANKRUPTCY. BUT IF YOU ARE A CASINO OWNER
    AND YOUR CASINO GOES DOWN AND YOUR NAME IS TRUMP, YOU CAN USE
    BANKRUPTCY FOUR TIMES. IT'S THOSE KINDS OF RULES AND
    LAWS MULTIPLIED THOUSANDS OF TIMES THAT PEOPLE ARE GRADUALLY
    UNDERSTANDING ARE UNDERMINING THE STANDARD OF LIVING IN MOST
    PEOPLE. PHARMACEUTICALS, WE ARE PAYING
    MORE FOR PHARMACEUTICALS IN THIS COUNTRY THAN THE PEOPLE OF ANY
    OTHER COUNTRY ARE PAYING. WHY?
    BECAUSE THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY HAS A LOCK ON
    WASHINGTON. IT CONTINUES TO GET LAWS PASSED
    THAT MAKE IT MORE AND MORE EXPENSIVE FOR PEOPLE TO BUY
    PHARMACEUTICALS. >> WHAT GIVES YOU HOPE THAT THAT
    LOCK CAN BE UNLOCKED? THIS IS A SYSTEM THAT'S BEEN IN
    PLACE FOR A LONG TIME. PEOPLE LIKE YOU HAVE TRIED TO
    FIGHT IT TO NO AVAIL IN MANY CASES.
    WHAT CHANGES? >> WHAT GIVES ME HOPE IS THAT,
    NUMBER ONE, HISTORY. YOU LOOK AT THE LAST TIME WE HAD
    THIS KIND OF SITUATION IN AMERICA.
    THE GILDED AGE, THE ROBERT BORONS OF THE 1880s, 1890s, WE
    AS A PEOPLE WE SAID NO. WE HAD A PROGRESSIVE ERA OF
    REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT, TEDDY ROOSEVELT WHO WENT AFTER THE
    TRUSTS, THE MONOPOLIES AND THE CORRUPTION.
    IT'S ALSO OPTIMISTIC BECAUSE I HAVE NEVER SEEN AS MUCH CITIZEN
    ACTIVISM RIGHT NOW AS I'VE SEEN SINCE THE ANTI VIETNAM WAR, AND
    THAT EVENTUALLY BUBBLES UP. IT BUBBLED UP A LITTLE BIT
    TUESDAY. WE'LL SEE MORE OF IT.
    IT'S NOT JUST REPUBLICAN VERSUS DEMOCRAT.
    LET'S GET OUT OF THAT BOX. IT'S PEOPLE WHO ARE SO TIRED,
    THEY'RE ANTI ESTABLISHMENT, EITHER ANTI ESTABLISHMENT
    AUTHORITARIANS, THE TRUMP VOTERS, OR ANTI ESTABLISHMENT
    REFORMERS, PROGRESSIVES. >> TO MIKE AND THEN HEIDI.
    >> LET'S TALK ABOUT THIS SLOW SLIDE MAYBE A COUPLE OF DECADES
    LONG TOWARD THE DISPARITY THAT WE LIVE WITH TODAY.
    WE'RE CONFRONTED WITH THE ENEMIES THAT HAVE CREATED THIS,
    AUTOMATION, TECHNOLOGY, COMPANIES OPERATING FOR
    SHAREHOLDERS ONLY. WHAT ELSE ARE WE CONFRONTED WITH
    AND HOW DIFFICULT ARE THE ODDS AGAINST PULLING THIS DISPARITY A
    LITTLE CLOSER TOGETHER? >> MIKE, GLOBALIZATION AND
    TECHNOLOGY, A LOT OF OTHER COUNTRIES -- MOST OTHER
    COUNTRIES FACE THE SAME THINGS. THEY DON'T HAVE THE DEGREE OF
    INEQUALITY OF INCOME AND WEALTH AND POLITICAL POWER WE HAVE IN
    THIS COUNTRY. THE ISSUE IS NOT GLOBALIZATION
    AND IT IS NOT TECHNOLOGY. THE ISSUE IS MONEY AND POLITICS.
    THE FIRST STEP IS TO GET BIG MON ANYPLACE OUT OF AMERICAN
    POLITICS. WHEN I SAID THAT 20 YEARS AGO
    PEOPLE DIDN'T KNOW WHAT I WAS TALKING ABOUT.
    I SAY THAT AROUND THE COUNTRY NOW --
    >> IT'S RESONATING. >> THEY UNDERSTAND IT.
    >> CITIZENS UNITED. >> GET RID OF CITIZENS UNITED,
    REVERSE THAT. ALSO PUBLIC FINANCING OF
    CAMPAIGNS, REDUCING THE SORT OF INEVITABLE -- THE KIND OF --
    BETWEEN GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS, THE DEGREE TO WHICH WE ARE
    SEEING AND, OF COURSE, THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION EXEMPLIFIES THIS,
    LOBBYISTS IN GOVERNMENT OR PEOPLE IN GOVERNMENT GOING INTO
    LOBBYING. WHEN I FIRST WENT TO WASHINGTON
    IN THE 1970s, 3% OF MEMBERS OF CORNING BECAME LOBBYISTS.
    RIGHT NOW IT'S 50% OF RETIRING MEMBERS OF CONGRESS BECOME
    LOBBYISTS. >> HEIDI.
    >> THAT TYPE OF SWEEPING LEGISLATIVE CHANGE IS HIGHLY
    UNLIKELY IN THIS CONGRESS. IS THERE ANYTHING THIS CONGRESS
    CAN DO TODAY TO PUT US ON THE ROAD TO TACKLE THAT ISSUE OF
    WAGES, UNRIGGING WAGES? A CORPORATE TAX CUT, I'M SURE
    YOU WILL AGREE, IS PROBABLY UNLIKELY TO DO THAT.
    WHAT CAN KIND OF PUT US ON THE ROAD TO TRYING TO UNRIG THE WAGE
    PROBLEM? >> I THINK THE MOST IMPORTANT
    THING RIGHT NOW IS TO MAKE SURE THE TAX CUT DOES NOT EVER REACH
    THE LIGHT OF DAY. THAT IS -- THAT WHOLE TAX CUT IS
    A GIANT CORPORATE TAX CUT, THE ID MANIAL CLASS ARE GOING TO BE
    HURT. THE VERY WEALTHIEST MEMBERS OF
    OUR SOCIETY ARE GOING TO COME OUT EVEN BETTER THAN THEY ARE
    DOING RIGHT NOW, BETTER THAN THEY'VE EVER DONE IN HISTORY.
    THERE SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN THIS TAX CUT ON THE AGENDA.
    WE HAVE MANY, MANY POUR IMPORTANT THINGS TO DO RIGHT
    NOW. FOR EXAMPLE, INSTEAD OF
    UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, WE SHOULD HAVE RE-EMPLOYMENT
    INSURANCE, PEOPLE WHO LOSE THEIR JOBS GET JOB COUNSELING, JOB
    TRAINING, JOB SEARCH ASSISTANCE. WE OUGHT TO HAVE WAGE INSURANCE.
    THE CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE, WE HAVEN'T EVEN RENEWED THAT.
    THERE'S SO MANY THINGS THIS COUNTRY DESPERATELY FEEDS TO DO,
    AND A TAX CUT FOR CORPORATIONS IS THE BOTTOM, THE LEAST
    IMPORTANT. >> THE DOCUMENTARY IS "SAVING
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