Keep attention on what’s really happening — and organize to stop it

By Robert Reich, Substack

More inflation buzz today. The U.S. consumer price index for January rose at an annual rate of 7.5 percent, the largest such increase since 1982.

Yes, prices are increasing. But would you prefer a recession? As a practical matter, that’s the choice the Fed gives us. When the Fed puts on the brakes, it often pushes the economy into a ditch. (Anyone remember when Paul Volcker “broke the back of inflation” by putting the economy into a tailspin?) A recession will cause far more hardship for many more Americans than inflation is now causing.

protestor holding sign that says, wage theft hurts families bottom line

Want to control inflation? Don’t do it by drafting millions of workers into the inflation fight by slowing the economy — causing them to lose jobs and wages. Better to ride out the storm — prices will slow down as shortages are overcome (although don’t expect corporations to reverse their price hikes). Or there’s always stronger medicine — price controls, windfall profits taxes, and antitrust.

Most importantly, focus on the real problems facing working Americans — the power imbalance that’s been keeping wages and working conditions down (adjusted for inflation) while pushing profits and stock prices up.

Specifically, stop employers from using five tactics that are seriously harming working people. Three of them are legal but shouldn’t be. No other advanced nation allows its working people to be treated this way.

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