Bernie Sanders scored another significant endorsement yesterday: Robert Reich, the prominent leftist economist who served as secretary of labor under Bill Clinton. Writing on Facebook to explain his decision, Reich said that Sanders was leading a “political mobilization” that would “get the nation back from the moneyed interests” who have come to dominate our political system in the Citizens United era.
Critically, Reich’s endorsement was a model of civility, and he understands that, regardless of our individual preferences in the primary, we must come together to support whomever the eventual Democratic nominee is.“I have the deepest respect and admiration for Hillary Clinton, and if she wins the Democratic primary I’ll work my heart out to help her become president,” he wrote. “But I believe Bernie Sanders is the agent of change this nation so desperately needs.”
Reich, who also served in the Carter and Ford administrations and was a member of President Obama’s economic team in 2008, is now a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley and has written numerous books on economic policy. His endorsement is only the latest in a long list of prominent economists who have thrown their support behind Sanders, negating his opponents’ refrain that he “doesn’t understand economics.”
The litany of economists lined up behind Sanders, however, not to mention simple common sense, makes it clear that it is these very opponents who, so stubbornly entrenched in their support of status quo economic policy and priorities, “don’t understand economics,” or at least have a severely limited view of the scope of economic possibilities. If we can spend $600 billion annually on mass murder overseas and $100 billion on corporate handouts, there is absolutely no reason we can’t spend $70 billion to provide quality education to all to further the American dream.
James DeVinne is a student at American University in Washington, DC majoring in International Service with a focus on the Middle East and South Asia. He is a founding member of Occupy Baltimore and interns at the Tahrir Institute for Middle East Policy.