Robert Reich and Molly Ringwald answer questions on Reddit

I doubt that they coordinated it, but, a few days ago, at roughly the same time, both Robert Reich and Molly Ringwald were on Reddit, answering people’s random questions. Following are some of my favorite responses. I was going to specify who said what, but then it occurred to me that it might be more fun without individual names attached, so that we could imagine, for instance, that Reich was answering questions about acting in Annie as a youngster, and that Ringwald was critiquing the current administration’s labor policies.

ON JUDD NELSON’S POOR BEHAVIOR TOWARD YOU ON THE SET OF BREAKFAST CLUB, AND WHETHER IT ALMOST GOT HIM FIRED

I think Judd was doing the method actor thing during rehearsals. He was wearing Bender’s clothes and trying to annoy me. I was fine but John Hughes was very protective of me. We ended up having a powwow, led by Ally. I remember her telling me, “We have to get him focused. Like a laser!” I think a bunch of us including myself called John and asked him to reconsider. I am thankful he did.

ON BILL O’REILLY CALLING YOU A COMMUNIST

…What can I say? He called me a “communist who secretly adores Karl Marx” because I said on the Daily Show last week that global corporatoins can’t be relied on to make the kinds of investments in education, infrastructure, and basic R&D in America that the nation requires. I challenged him to debate all this, but I haven’t heard squat from him. I left a message on his office phone a few days ago, but still nothing. Maybe you should write him: @oreillyfactor…

O’Reilly didn’t call me a “communist” because he has a problem with communism. I doubt he even knows what communism is. Hell, how many true communists are left in the world? He uses the term as an insult, the equivalent in his mind of “asshole.” The United States is in a completely different place than it was in during the 1950s, when Senator Joe McCarthy’s communist witch hunt ended the careers of many innocent people. We considered communism a terrible threat, because the Soviet Union was said to practice it, and the Soviet Union was a threat.

ON HOW YOU GET HOTTER WITH AGE

I drink the blood of Kristen Stewart.

ON THE CLASS YOU TEACH AT UC BERKELEY, AND WHETHER IT WILL EVER BE AVAILABLE ONLINE

I’ll teach “Wealth and Poverty” again next spring…. I’ve been thinking about (offering it online). Don’t know exactly how to pull it off, but it seems to me education ought to be cheaper and more universally available — and some sort of online lectures/courses should be available.

HAVE YOU SEEN THE EPISODE OF FAMILY GUY THAT REFERENCES YOU?

They asked me to do the voice. I was going to do it but it was a scheduling thing. I’m a big Seth MacFarlane fan! I can’t wait for the new cosmos he is doing with Neil De Grasse Tyson.

ON WHETHER WE LIVE IN A FUCNTIONAL REPUBLIC, AND WHAT OUR PRESENT LABOR SECRETARY SHOULD DO NOW

We’re drifting toward becoming a plutocracy, run by a relatively small number of extremely wealthy individuals, CEOs, and Wall Street moguls. That’s why we need to get serious about campaign finance reform, why tax reform is vital, and why the entire economy needs to be reorganized to widen the circle of prosperity — so that far more of us benefit from the gains of productivity growth. If I were back in the administration, I’d strengthen labor unions, try to create a single-payer system for healthcare, use antitrust laws to break up big concentrations of power (such as the biggest banks on Wall Street), resurrect the Glass-Steagall Act (that used to separate investment from commercial banking), and enlarge the Earned Income Tax Credit (a wage subsidy for lower-income workers).

…I’m not quite as pessimistic, but I do think there have to be major institutional changes. The most important, in my view, is limiting campaign contributions. That will be hard to do in the wake of the Supreme Court’s grotesque “Citizen’s United” decision, but I still think public financing of general elections can work, if the extent of the potential financing is raised. Remember, both presidential candidates used public financing in 1976, and didn’t rely on any outside financing. Seems hard to believe from where we are now.

…The Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) were successful New Deal measures for putting lots of people to work rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure, building public parks, and improving public spaces. I think it’s nuts not to try to repeat the success when so many people are out of work — and the portion of them out of work for a year or more is the highest it’s been since the Great Depression. Also, it’s now cheap for the Treasury to borrow money to finance this (the yield on the 10-year Treasury is still around 2 percent) — far cheaper than paying unemployment insurance and all the other social costs of unemployment, far cheaper than rebuilding our infrastructure when borrowing costs are higher, far cheaper than trying to deal with crumbling highways, unsafe bridges, inadequate public transportation, outmoded ports, etc.

ON WHY CONGRESS DOESN’T SEEM MOTIVATED TO PUT A WPA-LIKE PROJECT IN PLACE

Partly because Congress (especially the Republicans in Congress) are inherently distrustful of government hiring programs. They think they’re too prone to waste and corruption. Their position is understandable, but it’s not relevant when 13 million Americans are unemployed.

ON ALLY BEING HOTTER BEFORE THE MAKEOVER

I totally agree. I think she looked better before the makeover.

ON HOW TO REFORM THE TAX CODE

I’d raise taxes at the top (matching capital gains with taxes on ordinary income) and create more brackets at the top. So, for example, income over $1 million would be taxed at 70 percent (don’t freak out — the highest marginal tax rate was above 70 percent for forty years before 1981); income between $500K and $1 million would be taxed at 60 percent; income between $250K and $500K would be taxed at 45 percent; income between $100K and $250K would be taxed at 30 percent, and income between $50K and $100K would be taxed at 20 percent. Below that, I wouldn’t impose a tax. In fact, I’d begin to phase in an Earned Income Tax Credit — a reverse income tax. Between $40K and $50K, the EITC would provide $5K. Between $25K and $40K, it would provide $8K. Between $10K and $25K it would provide $10K…

And here’s a question for you… Which celebrity do you think would be the most likely to answer the questions of MM.com readers?

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10 Comments

  1. Rai Harashi
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 5:01 am | Permalink

    Mark,

    Stop.

    Reach down into your underwear below your testicles and slowly raise your hand up until you make contact with your scrotum. If wallnut is a zero, and water balloon is a ten, what are you right now?

    I’m a 3.

    — Rai

  2. Edward
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 7:12 am | Permalink

    If Mark reaches into his underwear during a conversation about Molly Ringwald, it won’t be to perform scientific measurements on his testes.

    And I loved Reich in the traveling company of Annie. I saw him when I was 7 in Gary, Indiana and it changed my life.

  3. Anonymous Mike
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 8:24 am | Permalink

    What’s your point, Rai? I want to understand. I want to laugh about the firmness of Mark’s testicles. I really do. I just don’t know what we’re laughing at. Are we laughing because Molly Ringwald makes his testicle hard, or because liking the Breakfast Club means he has squishy testicles?

  4. Elf
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    I’ve got ten bucks that says that Rai is really Karen Maurer, who we all know is obsessed with Mark’s penis.

    http://markmaynard.com/2012/01/in-defense-of-my-majestic-penis/

  5. Mr. Y
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    I’d empty my bank account to fund an Elizabeth Warren / Robert Reich presidential ticket. (And, if you threw in Russ Feingold, I’d start selling my blood for the cause.)

  6. anonymous
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    I know it’s unlikely to work, given everyone’s schedules, but I’d love to get the original cast of the Breakfast Club together to re-shoot some scenes with Robert Reich standing in for Molly Ringwald. Isn’t this the kind of thing that Kickstarter was created for?

  7. Tatersalad
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Elizabeth Warren…………….really? 1/32th. Indian? She lied and will continue to lie to the public. She is your typical left wing liberal loon that the liberals just love to support.

    http://www.independentsentinel.com/2012/05/elizabeth-warren-is-proud-to-be-132-indian/

  8. Rai Harashi
    Posted May 3, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    I was just curious, that’s all.

    Mark, can you answer please?

  9. Tatersalad
    Posted May 4, 2012 at 4:13 pm | Permalink

    Elizabeth Warren…………….The Fraud that she is:

    http://therealrevo.com/blog/?p=73648

  10. Tatersalad
    Posted May 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    ………..and now this Elizabeth Warren fraud is bailing:

    http://sadhillnews.com/2012/05/06/chief-pants-on-fire-elizabeth-warren

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