Politics
Photo: AP Photo: AP  

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich on Clinton: ‘We didn’t inhale together’

It’s not every day a former secretary of labor shows up randomly on the Internet to talk about smoking weed with Bill Clinton. But former Labor Secretary Robert Reich did just that Friday afternoon.

Reich, who served as Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, appeared on the “Ask Me Anything” section of the popular Internet news forum Reddit and invited readers to do exactly that.

Readers peppered Reich with questions ranging from whether he would consider running for Senate (“No.”) to his thoughts on how to create jobs in the current economy. Along the way, Reich dished on his friendship with Clinton.

“I’ve known him since he was 22,” Reich wrote. “At Oxford, as grad students, we didn’t inhale together.”

It wasn’t Reich’s only mention of marijuana. When asked for one federal regulation he would nix or replace, Reich responded, “I’d start by legalizing marijuana.” (RELATED: Barney Frank and Ron Paul unite — over weed)

On the topic of the economy, Reich said he favored restarting Depression-era work programs such as the Works Progress Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps, as well as another infusion of federal stimulus funds.

“It will be a hard sell, but when consumers (whose spending is 70 percent of the economy) won’t spend, and businesses (who are facing lackluster sales) won’t hire, government has to be the spender of last resort,” Reich wrote. “The President should ask for a trillion dollars to boost the economy. Not just on the WPA and CCC I mentioned, also infrastructure investment, also loans to cash-starved states and localities. With 25 million Americans looking for full-time work, and the cost of borrowing so incredibly low (T-bills at 2 percent), this is the only responsible thing to do.”

When asked who he reads from the other side of the economic aisle, Reich said, “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,” Reich wrote.

Reich is currently a professor of public policy at the University of California, Berkeley and the chairman of Common Cause, an organization that focuses on campaign finance and election reform.

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  • barryswhitehalf

    Reich is getting old in addition to  being, as always, obviously useless.

    Sit down, Robert. Oh. You are sitting? Well, all righty, then.

    Kick back and relax and read your own published paper and take your own advice, then: It’s time for you to consider taking that “die quickly” pill of yours. You know, so that you can cut back on wasteful health care spending on expensive tests and treatment, because, hey, you’re going to die soon, anyway.

    Hey. I’m just saying. It WAS YOUR idea, after all.

  • barryswhitehalf

    Reich is getting old in addition to  being, as always, obviously useless.

    Sit down, Robert. Oh. You are sitting? Well, all righty, then.

    Kick back and relax and read your own published paper and take your own advice, then: It’s time for you to consider taking that “die quickly” pill of yours. You know, so that you can cut back on wasteful health care spending on expensive tests and treatment, because, hey, you’re going to die soon, anyway.

    Hey. I’m just saying. It WAS YOUR idea, after all.

  • Anonymous

    His economic ideology completely discredited by the utter failure of his ideas in practical application, Reich reaches out to meaningless comments on a meaningless blog in some desperate attempt to salvage a sense of existence. Celebrity journalism, the last refuge for the incompetent and discredited . . . . along with the faculty at UC Berkeley.

  • Anonymous

    Democrats are the authors of drug control from FDA to DEA to prescriptions. The world turned fine before big bro controlled food drugs and cosmetics production and consumption.

    The drug war is on Republican Reagan (who I voted for twice) though Democrats are complicit in anything that smacks of govt control. Thanks to the drug war, you can now have the inside of your body searched for by police, employers, and hospitals at will with no warrant. This has gutted the 4th and 5th amendments. The 5th because you are forced to incriminate yourself.

    While addiction is not good for society, big brother controlling your food drugs and cosmetic use is worse. Taking your house and cars and cash and putting your family on the street and you in jail is a bit harsh for ingesting a substance that produces a bit of tingle to liven up the dull day.

    As for basic FDA regulation, no thanks. The regular civil law system is better for controlling food drugs and cosmetics. If you sell food drugs or cosmetics that are faulty then you get sued; if poor quality then your competitors out sell you. This is all the incentive businesses need to try and bring quality products to market.

    • http://twitter.com/aemoreira81 Adam Moreira

      Too libertarian for me. Some regulation is needed; what everyone should agree on, however, is to oppose over-regulation.

      • Anonymous

        The problem is agencies are pandora’s box. It is impossible to restrain the bloat of agency regulation by unelected bureaucrats who deflect blame and accountability away from the elected bodies.

        The danger to you children and grandchildren from drug arrest and long incarceration along with ruined record and career is far greater than the danger from drugs themselves. It isn’t other people’s kids who take pleasure producing substances. it is our own (actually my kids are extremely square but you get my point.)

        It is only a matter of time before controlled substances includes salt, sugar, and fat. Actually they already are because the regulatory agencies are going at all kinds of substances from the business side rather than the consumer side. They simply regulate substances or non govt favored items out of production. Coal, oil, sugar, fat, salt, air conditioning, electricity, and automobiles are currently in their sights.

    • Anonymous

      The power to regulate is the power to destroy. FDA is a case in point. 

      If FDA approves a drug and some years down the line a problem arises, their career is harmed. If FDA kills a drug the patients who never receive it may silently die but the careers of the FDAers are enhanced. FDA is dominated by this fact. Instead of examining a balance between risk and benefits they put their personal benefit ahead of that of the American people. A real asymmetry evident daily. In the last couple of years for example, FDA has created registration barriers for CYA reasons that have essentially precluded any new therapies for diabetes or obesity or depression based on concerns for 1/10,000 or 1/100,000 patients while ignoring the needs of the 9,999 or the 99,999 patients.

      FDA has gutted the US based pharmaceutical industry to the point where they are dropping out of major areas of drug development and moving out of creating new drugs into buying generic companies, companies in China and India, and are moving development overseas. There is not a single person in the US – other than FDA bureaucrats – this benefits. All of our lives and the lives of our loved ones are potentially shortened and made less healthy for this. 

      For those who so ideologically hate the pharmaceutica, biotech, biologic, vaccines, device and diagnostics industries that you want to see them destroyed – why don’t you just stop using their products and let nature take its course.

    • Anonymous

      The power to regulate is the power to destroy. FDA is a case in point. 

      If FDA approves a drug and some years down the line a problem arises, their career is harmed. If FDA kills a drug the patients who never receive it may silently die but the careers of the FDAers are enhanced. FDA is dominated by this fact. Instead of examining a balance between risk and benefits they put their personal benefit ahead of that of the American people. A real asymmetry evident daily. In the last couple of years for example, FDA has created registration barriers for CYA reasons that have essentially precluded any new therapies for diabetes or obesity or depression based on concerns for 1/10,000 or 1/100,000 patients while ignoring the needs of the 9,999 or the 99,999 patients.

      FDA has gutted the US based pharmaceutical industry to the point where they are dropping out of major areas of drug development and moving out of creating new drugs into buying generic companies, companies in China and India, and are moving development overseas. There is not a single person in the US – other than FDA bureaucrats – this benefits. All of our lives and the lives of our loved ones are potentially shortened and made less healthy for this. 

      For those who so ideologically hate the pharmaceutica, biotech, biologic, vaccines, device and diagnostics industries that you want to see them destroyed – why don’t you just stop using their products and let nature take its course.

    • Anonymous

      The power to regulate is the power to destroy. FDA is a case in point. 

      If FDA approves a drug and some years down the line a problem arises, their career is harmed. If FDA kills a drug the patients who never receive it may silently die but the careers of the FDAers are enhanced. FDA is dominated by this fact. Instead of examining a balance between risk and benefits they put their personal benefit ahead of that of the American people. A real asymmetry evident daily. In the last couple of years for example, FDA has created registration barriers for CYA reasons that have essentially precluded any new therapies for diabetes or obesity or depression based on concerns for 1/10,000 or 1/100,000 patients while ignoring the needs of the 9,999 or the 99,999 patients.

      FDA has gutted the US based pharmaceutical industry to the point where they are dropping out of major areas of drug development and moving out of creating new drugs into buying generic companies, companies in China and India, and are moving development overseas. There is not a single person in the US – other than FDA bureaucrats – this benefits. All of our lives and the lives of our loved ones are potentially shortened and made less healthy for this. 

      For those who so ideologically hate the pharmaceutica, biotech, biologic, vaccines, device and diagnostics industries that you want to see them destroyed – why don’t you just stop using their products and let nature take its course.

    • Anonymous

      The power to regulate is the power to destroy. FDA is a case in point. 

      If FDA approves a drug and some years down the line a problem arises, their career is harmed. If FDA kills a drug the patients who never receive it may silently die but the careers of the FDAers are enhanced. FDA is dominated by this fact. Instead of examining a balance between risk and benefits they put their personal benefit ahead of that of the American people. A real asymmetry evident daily. In the last couple of years for example, FDA has created registration barriers for CYA reasons that have essentially precluded any new therapies for diabetes or obesity or depression based on concerns for 1/10,000 or 1/100,000 patients while ignoring the needs of the 9,999 or the 99,999 patients.

      FDA has gutted the US based pharmaceutical industry to the point where they are dropping out of major areas of drug development and moving out of creating new drugs into buying generic companies, companies in China and India, and are moving development overseas. There is not a single person in the US – other than FDA bureaucrats – this benefits. All of our lives and the lives of our loved ones are potentially shortened and made less healthy for this. 

      For those who so ideologically hate the pharmaceutica, biotech, biologic, vaccines, device and diagnostics industries that you want to see them destroyed – why don’t you just stop using their products and let nature take its course.