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

C.J. Ciaramella Contributor
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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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