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. 22, No. 2, March

America's Trade Policy of the Absurd: Saving Middle-Class America Will Require a Radically Different Conception of Trade and the National Interest
For three decades, both Democratic and Republican administrations have been making trade deals with elites of other countries that favor the interests of multinational investors over the interests of American producers and workers. U.S.-based banks...
A Message for Progressives: It's Time We Started Growing the Economy and Stopped Shrinking the Middle Class
Progressives are not fond of "talking points": We like to think in sentences, paragraphs, and even articles and books if it takes that long to fully flesh out an idea. Our ideas, so the story goes, are more "nuanced" than our opponents', and to some...
Backward Mobility: The Recession Is Wiping out the Jobs, Homes, and Dreams of the African American Middle Class
If Barack Obama embodies the American dream of equal opportunity, Velma Hart represents the midnight wake-up call bearing bad news. In September, the Army veteran and successful executive interrupted Obama's "recovery summer" road show by announcing,...
Beyond Intellectualism
I spent much of high school trying not to be interested in ideas. I studied hard and made good grades, but I didn't hang out with the nerds. This was partly because hanging out with nerds wasn't cool and partly because the kind of intellectualism they...
Blame It on Blue: Everything, Apparently, Is Democrats' Fault
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] There is a certain rhythm to events like the , Heritage Foundation s January forum on filibuster reform. The speaker, in this case Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, says something such as, "There is no doubt the Senate has...
Business Is Booming: America's Leading Corporations Have Found a Way to Thrive Even If the American Economy Doesn't Recover. This Is Very, Very Bad News
When he was CEO of General Electric, in 1998, Jack Welch pithily summarized his vision for corporate America: "Ideally, you'd have every plant you own on a barge to move with currencies and changes in the economy." Since then, corporations have...
Champions of the Middle Class: Can Organized Labor Lead a Movement to Restore Broad Economic Security? It's Hard to Imagine Who Else Will
The labor movement has long been a potent force for promoting a broad economic middle. Though no longer centered in auto and steel factories, unions continue to offer lower-income Americans a path into the middle class--just ask a newly organized janitor,...
Dems to Watch: A Rising Crop of Democrats Looks to the Middle
After last fall's electoral defeats, a shaken Democratic Congress returned to Washington to assess its political position and leadership, during what would turn out to be a surprisingly productive lame-duck session. Following a close look at the roster,...
Family Time and the Middle Class
In formal economics, we measure well-being in terms of income and wealth. But that leaves out a lot of the story. As the old adage goes, time is money. Today's middle-class families have lost a huge amount of time and flexibility. The market, however,...
From the Executive Editor
The big policy question in Washington at the moment is whether the economy is just slowly crawling back from an unusually deep recession or whether something else is going on. Not only was the recession different from most but so, it seems, is the...
Moral Combat: Why Do Liberals Play Computer Games like Conservatives?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Simulated Monica's troubles began as soon as I hit play. She could never work her way past an entry-level job on the graveyard shift. No one in her family could cook, which left them all to subsist on a diet of takeout pizza....
Reclaiming Middle-Class America: If Progressives Want a Winning Theme That the Right Can't Match, This Is It
"Middle class" is more than an income category. It's an image of a certain kind of society--a nation in which the gains of prosperity are broadly shared and those who work hard have a good shot at upward mobility and the security of a basic safety...
Should More Politicians Pursue Their Own Reality Shows?
JAMELLE BOULE: So, Sarah Palin's reality show won't make it to a second season. From what I understand, she had it canceled, even though the ratings were pretty good. ADAM SERWER: Well, they were about as good as AMC's The Walking Deed, so she's...
Southern Discomfort
In his 2006 book, Whistling Past Dixie, political scientist Tom Schaller argued that the Democratic Party should learn to ignore the South. Presidential elections and congressional majorities could be won without the region, and the Mountain West was...
Tax Tricks: Time to Go on Offense: Our Current Tax System Rewards Unproductive Speculation and Punishes the Working Middle Class
For three decades, progressives have been engaged in a political contest where the range of the playing field runs between our own goal line and our own 20-yard line. During the period that we have been fighting over some version of the Bush-Reagan...
The Collapse of Secure Retirement
While many in Washington and on Wall Street are talking about cutting Social Security, the real problem is that America's patchwork retirement system is already eroding. Once, the majority of America's seniors could look forward to at least a modestly...
The Overselling of Education: We Need a Better-Educated Citizenry, but the Cure for Increasing Inequality Lies Elsewhere
In discussing rising inequality in the United States, Federal Reserve Board Chair Ben Bernanke recently said, "It's a very bad development.... It's creating two societies. And it's based very much, I think, on educational differences." A better-educated...
The Rent Trap: In the Wake of the Foreclosure Crisis, Should We Be Encouraging People to Abandon the Dream of Homeownership?
Kelly Wood offers her guest a cup of tea from a kettle already boiling on the stove, a gesture that is automatic here in Burlington, Vermont. Nothing, though, could make this condo in a modest subdivision homier than it already is. A thin layer of...
Time for National Greatness Liberalism: Our National Economic Fortune Depends on Reclaiming a Credible Role for Large-Scale Public Investment
The early 21st-century United States is falling behind the international competition in many areas of economic innovation. Eroding human capital, a cowed middle class worried about declining wages and fraying families, decaying traditional infrastructure,...
Troubled States
This year, with unemployment still at recession levels, one state after another will lay off teachers, reduce health care for people on Medicaid, defer maintenance on roads and bridges, and make other assorted cuts to balance their budgets. Even though...
What's Civility Worth?
For me, going home for the holidays every year is a reminder of the limits of rational political discourse. It s not that I descend into arguments with my family--which is, on the whole, much more conservative than I am--it's that we've long since...
When Should We Retire? Two Views: Encouraging People to Retire Early Might Open Up Jobs. on the Other Hand, Should People Spend 30 Years Retired?
Early Retirement as a Fix for Unemployment BY JAMES K. GALBRAITH Debate over the future of Social Security and Medicare usually takes place in a timeless cocoon, insulated from other programs and economic forces, an economic neverland in which...