Last updated on: 3/14/2016 | Author:

Robert B. Reich, JD Biography

Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Former US Secretary of Labor
Pro to the question "Should the Federal Minimum Wage Be Increased?"

“If the minimum wage in 1968 had simply kept up with inflation it would be more than $10 today. If it also kept up with the added productivity of American workers since then, it would be more than $21 an hour…

More money in people’s pockets means more demand for goods and services, which means more jobs not fewer jobs.

Studies also show that when the minimum is raised more people are brought into the pool of potential employees, giving employers more choice of whom to hire. This reduces turnover and helps employers save money.

Finally, employers who don’t pay enough to lift their employees out of poverty are indirectly subsidized by the rest of us – who are paying billions each year in food stamps, Medicaid, housing assistance, and welfare, to make up the difference.

The minimum wage should be raised to $15 an hour. It’s the least that a decent society should require.”

“Raise the Minimum Wage to $15,”, May 7, 2015

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy, University of California at Berkeley, Jan. 2006-present
  • Cofounding Editor, The American Prospect magazine
  • Economic Advisor, Obama Presidential Campaign, 2008
  • Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy, Florence Heller Graduate School of Public Policy and Management, Brandeis University, Jan. 1997-Dec. 2005
  • Candidate for the Governor of Massachusetts, 2002
  • US Secretary of Labor, Jan. 1993-Jan. 1997
  • Chairman, President-elect’s Transition Team for Economic Policy, Washington, DC, Nov. 1992-Jan. 1993
  • Professor, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Sep. 1981-Nov. 1992
  • Director of Policy Planning Staff, US Federal Trade Commission, May 1977-Aug. 1981
  • Assistant Director for Policy, FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection, Jan. 1976-Apr. 1997
  • Assistant to the US Solicitor General, Aug. 1974-Dec. 1975
  • JD, Yale Law School, 1973
  • MA, Oxford University (UK), 1970
  • BA, summa cum laude, Dartmouth College, 1968
  • Twitter handle: @RBReich
  • Full name is Robert Bernard Reich
  • Was born on June 24, 1946 in Scranton, PA
  • Named by TIME Magazine as one of the ten most successful cabinet officials of the past century, 2008
  • Named by the Wall Street Journal as one of the ten most influential business thought leaders, 2008 and 2013
  • Recipient, Special Jury Prize, Sundance Film Festival, 2013, for his film Inequality for All
  • Recipient, Vaclav Havel Vision Foundation Prize, 2003
Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Should the Federal Minimum Wage Be Increased?