The American Prospect

A monthly political journal of liberal though. Contains articles that generate debate, further ideas, and set agendas; and provides a forum for working through the controversies and hard choices facing all Americans. Includes regular topics and features.

Articles from Vol. 12, No. 16, September 10

A Reform That Lobbyists Could Love
WHEN THE HOUSE RETURNS after Labor Day, expect the final push to pass the Shays-Meehan campaign finance "reform" bill. Caveat emptor. If a bill comes out of this Congress, it will be nothing more than a symbolic victory, at best. According to The...
Bailing out Private Jails
The abuse-ridden for-profit prison industry is on the verge of bankruptcy. But the feds are jumping to the rescue by providing even more business. THE PRIVATE-PRISON INDUSTRY IS IN TROUBLE. For close to a decade, its business boomed and its stock...
Beyond the Multiplex
IN "THE MOVIEGOERS," A BLEAK New Yorker article from a few years back, the film critic David Denby bemoaned both the current state of movie culture and the marginal role of serious criticism in shaping popular taste. According to Denby, the commercialization...
Bill of Wrongs
The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawsuits. A PAIR OF CLASS-ACTION lawsuits filed on behalf of patients and doctors wronged by health maintenance organizations spearheaded by the lawyers who beat the tobacco industry and Microsoft--would...
Bush's House of Cards
The privatization scheme is wobbling: Mainly, it has energized Democrats, labor, and the elderly to resist handing Social Security to Wall Street. ON A SWELTERING MORNING IN LATE JULY, 300 demonstrators, rallying to defend Social Security against...
Correspondence
The Taxonomist ROBERT S. MCINTYRE asserts in his May 21, 2001, "Taxonomist" column that I suggested in off-camera banter that I believed that the conservative positions on Social Security reform, tax reduction, and choice in Medicare are unpopular...
Equal Rights Postponement
ASK STATE AND FEDERAL LEGIslators if they believe that legal rights should be extended or withheld on the basis of sex. Most would probably say no, and many of them would be lying. Adoption of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution remains...
Ergonomic Enemy
After a career of bashing workers' rights, Eugene Scalia may soon control them. DEMOCRATS STILL REELing from the Bush v. Gore decision in December must have cringed when President Bush announced his choice for solicitor of the Labor Department....
Garbage in, Garbage Out
JOHN TIERNEY'S BEST-KNOWN PIECE, "Recycling Is Garbage," was somewhat recycled itself. The piece drew heavily on the work of a number of anti-recycling think tanks, among them the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Cato Institute, the Reason Foundation,...
Insufficient Credits
Why Tax Breaks Won't Help the Uninsured AS AIR LEAKS OUT OF THE economic balloon, the number of Americans without health insurance will rise. For two decades, the number--now more than 45 million--has been steadily growing, as it has during all...
Investor Beware
Can small investors survive Social Security privatization? IT HAS BECOME NEARLY AXIOMATIC IN THIS COUNTRY TO argue that everything would be better if it were run like a business. In response, government has shifted its mission: If it used to operate...
Learning to Count
Why We Need Federal Election Standards THE ELECTORAL CIRCUS IN Florida shined a klieg light on the need to overhaul our elections across the nation. The debacle yielded a chorus of reform pledges from politicians. As if to prove they meant it, they...
Libertarian Rhapsody
Columnist John Tierney is not just the resident contrarian at The New York Times. He's also part of its growing neocon chorus. "IT'S SO HARD TO TEACH NEW YORKERS," SAYS COLUMnist John Tierney of The New York Times, lowering his binoculars and shaking...
Mississippi Churning
AT THE END OF MARCH, DESPITE the fact that more than 2,600 beds stood empty in Mississippi's state prisons, the Mississippi legislature committed $6 million in scarce public funds to increasing the number of state prisoners sent to private prisons...
Money and Moral Hazard
THOSE WHO FAVOR AN END TO Social Security as we know it might want to take another look at the repeal of the estate tax. The two policy initiatives are linked by their conservative supporters as well as by timing: The President's Commission to Strengthen...
Monkey Doo
HOW DARE DIRECTOR TIM Burton "reimagine" (he avoids the word "remake") the classic 1968 film Planet of the Apes? It's a milestone in sci-fi history, a brilliant, many-layered social commentary, many Apes buffs would argue, and its timing and essence...
Smells like School Spirit
"NO OTHER PEOPLE," wrote Henry Steele Commager, the most widely read American historian of the generation following World War II, "ever demanded so much of schools and of education as have the American. None other was ever so well served by its schools...
The Great Obfuscator
PRESIDENT BUSH'S HEAVILY choreographed decision to support "limited" stem cell research generated the desired headlines and TV commentary. He had anguished over the decision, we were told, and navigated a prudent course between zealous scientists who...
Unspinning the Energy Bill
EARLIER THIS YEAR, SOARING GASOLINE AND ELECTRICITY prices had much of the public outraged at villainous energy profiteers. So, after careful study, the Johnny-one-notes in Washington, D.C., who run the Republican Party concluded that there are only...
What Killed the Boom?
THE WORRY IS OBVIOUS: JUST as an expanding high-tech sector contributed to strong growth in the 1990s, so might a deepening slump in technology drag down the entire economy. High among the sources of concern is the recent meltdown in the telecom industry....
Whose Benefit?
PRESCRIPTION-DRUG costs are rising at an unsustainable rate--19 percent per year--and will soon surpass payments to doctors as the largest item on the health bill after hospitalizations. Medicare does not cover outpatient drug costs, and many senior...