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. 18, No. 5, May

Blowing off the War: Conservatives Know Virtually Nothing about Iraq or the Walter Reed Scandal If They Get Their News from Right-Wing Media. but They Do Know That Democrats Are to Blame
YOU MIGHT HAVE HAD THIS EXPErience at one time or another: Armed with an opinion you may not have thought much about, you find yourself arguing with someone who disagrees with you on a topic of current events. As the debate proceeds, you begin to understand...
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Branding the Democrats
REVENGE CAN BE SWEET. NEUROSCIENTISTS HAVE DISCOVERED circuits in the brain that become active with the feelings of "sweet revenge," and it would take a saint or a stroke victim not to experience some pleasure watching Democrats regain the power of...
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Can Block Clubs Block Despair? Why Do Some Poor Communities Fall Apart While Others Cohere? Community Organization Can Make a Difference-Up to a Point
ONE BRIGHT SPRING MORNING, Peter St. Jean set out on an unusual scholarly expedition. St. Jean is a sociologist at the University of Buffalo who studies the relationship between concentrated poverty and crime. He drives a maroon Nissan Pathfinder,...
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Closing College Doors: How Higher Education Sacrifices Opportunity to Privilege
AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION IS NO longer the avenue of intergenerational upward mobility that it once was. Instead of serving as an agent of opportunity, much of higher education has become simply another agent of stratification. Two statistics are...
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Compassion and Coalition: The Paradox of Helping the Poor by Helping All Americans
IMAGINE AN INFANT BORN INTO POVERTY. THIS CHILD is statistically at greater than normal risk for every bad social outcome in later life associated with early chronic trauma. As the infant grows into a toddler, the child is more likely to have poor...
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Creating an Opportunity Society: Asset-Building Strategies Can Broaden the American Promise of Ownership. but They Can't Succeed on the Cheap, or by Shifting Even More Risks to the Poor
SOCIAL MOBILITY, ECONOMIC SECURITY, AND SELF-RELIANCE are at the heart of the American ideal. These widely shared goals can be the foundation for a new political consensus built around the cultivation of financial and human assets. At least two sources...
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Debt: The New Safety Net: Low-Income Families Are Saddled with Very High-Interest Debt. They're Not Spendthrifts-Their Earnings Are Inadequate to Fulfill Basic Needs
VICTOR AND ELOISE REPRESENT the new face of debt in America. Together, they've worked in a series of low-wage jobs that include stints at fast-food restaurants, small factories, and hotels. Technically, they are not poor according to the government's...
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Don't Blame Immigrants for Poverty Wages: The Remedy Is Wage Protections, Worker Rights, and Better Education and Training for Both Immigrants and Native-Born Workers
OUR LOVE-HATE RELATIONSHIP WITH foreign-born workers has once again taken center stage in the national drama over immigration, only now it's set against a backdrop of heightened concerns over national security and an unprecedented geographic dispersal...
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Ending Poverty in America
THIS SPECIAL REPORT ON ENDING POVERTY IN AMERICA IS a COLLABORATION OF THE AMERICAN PROSPECT and Demos. Both organizations share a deep commitment to greater equality in both American economic and political life, and we believe the two goals are directly...
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Faith, Charity, and Justice: There's a Role for Faith-Based Groups in Battling Poverty, but We Need Power along with Glory
IN HER BOOK MEN IN DARK TIMES, Hannah Arendt recounts a story in which Pope John XXIII asked one of the Vatican gardeners, "How are things going?" The worker replied, "Badly, badly, Your Eminence," telling Pope John what he earned and how many family...
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False Choices on Poverty: Why We Must Address Both Economics and Values
FROM THE 1970s THROUGH THE MID-1990s, poverty policy was among the nastiest battlefields in the national culture war. Left and right slugged it out over why people were poor and how (or whether) to help them. Conservatives generally enjoyed the upper...
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High-Quality Preschool as Antipoverty: A Child's Early Years Are a Fertile Time to Eliminate the Intergenerational Cycle of Disadvantage
NEW EVIDENCE ON BRAIN DEVELOPment during a child's early years makes it clear that early childhood should be a focus of increased policy attention. We now know that the basic architecture of the brain is constructed through an ongoing process that...
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Inequality, Race, and Remedy: It Would Be Hopeful to Believe That Race Is No Longer a Factor in Poverty and That We Can Be a Color-Blind Society. but America Still Has a Legacy to Overcome-And to Achieve
OUR NATION, AT ITS BEST, PURSUES THE IDEAL THAT what we look like and where we come from should not determine the benefits, burdens, or responsibilities that we bear in our society. Because we believe that all people are created equal in terms of rights,...
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Is Education the Cure for Poverty? Partly, but Schools Are Just One Factor among Many
ECONOMISTS MAY DISAGREE A LOT on policy, but we all agree on the "education premium"--the earnings boost associated with more education. But what role can education play in a realistic antipoverty policy agenda? And what are the limits of that role?...
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Is Rising Inequality Reversible?
NEW FIGURES CAME OUT AT THE END OF MARCH SHOWING hat income inequality in 2005 reached the highest levels since the 1920s. By coincidence, presidential hopeful Rudy Giuliani that same day declared his support for the flat tax and received the endorsement...
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Making Poverty History: There Is No Secret about What It Takes to End Poverty. We Just Have to Get Serious about Doing It
WE MIGHT NOT EXPECT TV'S AMERICAN IDOL TO BE OUT in front of most presidential candidates on issues of national importance, but that's what happened this spring. AI's producers announced that they would dedicate two evenings to raising funds and awareness...
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More Polarizing Than Rehnquist: Chief Justice John Roberts Won Senate Confirmation by Vowing to Shun Ideological Activism. Instead, by Trashing Judicial Precedent and Legislative Statutes, He's Reshaping Law to Fit Conservative Dogma
NO ONE CAN YET FORESEE WHERE 52-YEAR-OLD Chief Justice John Roberts will take the Supreme Court during the several decades he will likely preside over it. But one thing is already clear: Roberts himself wants the public to understand that he is intent...
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Obama and the Rules
DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL PRIMARY CONTESTS OFTEN follow a familiar pattern: There is one candidate (usually the one I find myself supporting) with a high-minded pitch for "a new kind of politics'--what the Los Angeles Times columnist Ron Brownstein recently...
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Redeeming Public Remedy: It Takes Effective Government to Restore Opportunity. after Decades of Government-Bashing, We Need to Win Back Support for What We Do in Common
PRIVATE ENTERPRISE PRODUCES EMPLOYMENT, WAGES, and wealth, but our public structures are what facilitate the conduct of business, providing the framework necessary for markets to thrive. Key public systems also help protect people against the risks...
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Regrets, They're Had a Few
AS GOOD AMERICAN CONSUMERS, WE'VE ALL LIKELY experienced buyer's remorse. But in 2007, seller's remorse--not to mention smearer's remorse--seems a special attribute of Republican campaign operatives and funders. In mid-February, The New York Times...
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Shul Politics
WASHINGTON IS A CITY OF MICROCULTURES WITH major power. At first glance, its C-SPAN-ready inhabitants may all look alike, but over time you learn to distinguish the import of the small differences that Washingtonians allow themselves. If you see a...
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The Changing Face of Poverty in America: Why Are So Many Women, Children, Racial and Cultural Minorities Still Poor?
"Water, water everywhere, nor any drop to drink."--Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner IN 1960 AMERICAN WORKERS PRODUCED A GROSS DOMESTIC Product of $13,847 (in year 2000 dollars) for every man, woman, and child in the country....
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The Health of Nations: Here's How Canada, France, Britain, Germany, and Our Own Veterans Health Administration Manage to Cover Everybody at Less Cost and with Better Care Than We Do
MEDICINE MAY BE HARD, BUT HEALTH INSURance is simple. The rest of the world's industrialized nations have already figured it out, and done so without leaving 45 million of their countrymen uninsured and 16 million or so underinsured, and without letting...
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Using Carrots and Sticks: Welfare Reform Rewarded Work and Discouraged Self-Defeating Behavior. What Else Needs to Be Done?
IN THE LAST DECADE, WE HAVE SEEN that an effective approach to reducing poverty requires changes in personal behavior as well as government support. Further, we have learned that by judiciously applying policies that demand and then reward good behavior--what...
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Wages and the Social Contract: Needed: More Worker Bargaining Power
FROM THE END OF WORLD WAR II J. through the mid 1970s, the real wages of American workers nearly doubled, moving up in tandem with the growth in productivity. The United States benefited from an implicit social contract: By working hard and contributing...
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What Can Worker Training Do? Plenty, but Career Ladders Need to Lead to Rewarding Jobs
ONE OUT OF EVERY SIX FULL-TIME U.S. workers earns less than 125 percent of the poverty line--under $18,865 a year for a family of three. And the share of low-wage workers is considerably higher in many of the sectors with the most job growth: retailing,...
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What Rudy Believes: Gun Control? Welcoming Immigrants? A Woman's Right to Choose? Never Mind His Past Positions. the Only -Ism That Rudy Giuliani Believes in Is Sadism
CONSERVATIVES WHO ADMIRE RUDOLPH GIULIANI for his association with the date September 11, 2001, may wish to consult Google on the question of the mayor's behavior on May 10, 2000. The Rudy of that date should give them, and everyone, reason to stop...
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