I really like Robert Reich (have you read Aftershock Jamie?) and his ideas.
I also am a big Bob Reich fan. I have not read "Aftershock" yet, but it's on my reading list. I used to teach labor economics and labor economists have to stick together; it's not a sexy field and nobody is ever going to win a Nobel as a labor economist. On the other hand, I made some good money testifying in discrimination cases and there is not much call for expert witnesses in general equilibrium theory.
It's the middle class that drives our economy. The disappearing middle class and concentration of wealth is why everything is going to shit. It's really simple in my mind, grow the middle class and you grow the economy. The ultra-rich ceo's and executives need to take pay cuts and pay employees more.
You hit the nail on the head. As much as I would like to see it, pay cuts are not economically necessary; we just need to reduce income inequality by having the bottom 99.98% grow faster than the 00.02%. Perhaps a raise in the minimum wage and a big cut in corporate tax goodies?
Ultimately, I'm not even sure if that will work, and how do you do that anyway. Manufacturing, auto and industrial jobs, the mainstay of the middle class, just aren't as plentiful.
American manufacturing labor is the most efficient in the world. There is no reason that with appropriate industrial and trade policies the United States could not develop a large dynamic technologically advanced industrial sector. About half of the growth since WWII is attributable to government funded basic research, the vary things that are being cut in the budget today. Try googling "Golden Goose Awards".
So yeah, I know some of this sounds socialist-ic. But if the market won't support a more sharing-of-the-wealth attitude, then perhaps it needs to be forced in some way. I'm sure someone smarter than I can figure out a way to do that without being overtly communist.
It's obvious by now that a market system has an built-in tendency to abuse, concentration, monopoly power, and greater inequality. The traditional remedy for this is government action. Government set the rules that allow the abuse (like repealing the Banking Act of 1933) and government can reregulate if it has the political will. If this is force, then so is policing weights and measures (you want a 16 oz loaf of bread? Bring a scale to the Walmart grocery!).
It's common in the United States to throw around terms like markets, capitalism, fascism, socialism, communism, and so forth with no regard at all to their meanings. If these have become meaningless pejorative terms, let's just label them invective and leave it at that. If they have meaning, let's use them properly. Government regulation of markets is not ipso facto socialism or communism any more than monopolistic health insurance systems are "markets".