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. 13, No. 13, July 15

A Big Apple for the Mayor. (Networks)
HERE'S A MOTLEY CREW THAT HELPED bring an urgent issue to a boiling point: Russell Simmons of Def Jam Records, the Hip-Hop Action Network, the Alliance for Quality Education, the United Federation of Teachers, L.L. Cool J, Chuck D., and Alicia Keys....
A Film Divided: Henry Bean's the Believer Tells the Tale of a Neo-Nazi-A Skinhead Who Can't Quite Cast off His Own Jewishness. (the Critics Film)
HOLLYWOOD MADE SOME healthy contributions to the "rogue cop" genre in the 1990s. One was Internal Affairs, in which Richard Gere, as a cop gone bad, was corrupt, porkily sexual, running rackets, and siring children like a Greek god. Gere's character...
Alaska's Infinite Regress: Where Regressive Taxation Isn't an Option-It's a Forgone Conclusion. (the Taxonomist)
RECOGNIZING THAT AN INFORMED PUBLIC GENERALLY likes progressive taxes, Republicans prefer to lie about the impact of their tax ideas. Take, for example, Arizona Senator Jon Kyl, who recently claimed that the federal estate tax on the largest 2 percent...
Ashcroft's Lies. (on the Contrary)
CONSERVATIVES ARE SUPPOSED TO STAND FOR personal accountability. But at the FBI, under the ultraconservative stewardship of a Republican president and attorney general, no bad deed goes unrewarded. Recent revelations that agents in Washington ignored...
Big (Dirty) Air. (Networks)
THE WHITE HOUSE'S DEEP loyalty to its energy-industry funders was (yet again) prancing in the spotlight when the Environmental Protection Agency unveiled its long-foreshadowed changes to the New Source Review (NSR), a provision of the Clean Air...
Bush's Blunder: Welfare Reform Has Been a Success in Many Respects. but If the White House Prevails, That's about to Change for the Worse. (the Politics)
IN THE LAST THREE MONTHS, THE WELFARE-REFORM debate has been transformed in ways few people envisioned even recently. The change hasn't been for the better. Early this year, many people believed that reauthorization of the Personal Responsibility...
Caring for Children as a Career; Professionalizing Child Care Would Be Good for Kids and Good for Working Mothers-Including Those Who Work Minding Other People's Children. (Income)
HIGH-QUALITY CHILD CARE IS THE BIGGEST missing element in welfare-to-work efforts. Despite additional funding under welfare reform, the care available to most low-income women and their children is usually custodial and unreliable. Many former welfare...
Control Freaks. (Correspondence)
THE PROSPECT IS KNOWN for high-quality journalism. So it's a shame that before letting loose with falsehoods and half-truths about Americans for Gun Safety (AGS), Nicholas Confessore didn't check with us ["Control Freaks," April 8, 2002]. Our "plush...
Dollars Don't Do It: Throwing Money at the FBI Only Deepens the Problem. (Gazette)
THE FBI HAS HAD A ROUGH couple of months with the public, in the press, and on the Hill. Senators are even entertaining the notion of splitting the bureau in half. But if Director Robert Mueller is seriously concerned about the FBI's future, it's...
Forgotten Men: The Continuing Crisis in Black Male Unemployment, and How to Remedy It. (Income)
ALTHOUGH THE LAST decade has brought unprecedented prosperity to many Americans, the picture has been decidedly mixed for young black men. Their crime rates have dropped, and their school enrollments have increased, but things are not going so well...
Getting Welfare Right
IN 1996, PRESIDENT CLINTON KEPT HIS CAMPAIGN pledge to end welfare as we know it. By the time the bill finally passed, Republicans controlled Congress and the reform seemed draconian. Three senior sub-cabinet officials resigned in protest. The program...
High Stakes, Hard Choices: When School Reformers Demand That Parents Spend More Time on Homework and Welfare Reformers Demand More Time at Work, What's Supposed to Give? (Children)
OVER THE LAST DECADE, TWO IMPORTANT SOCIAL policies originating on the right have been recast as centrist and adopted nationwide. One is welfare reform, which has pushed (some would say shoved) poor and low-skill parents headlong into the labor...
How Not to Overthrow Saddam; the Bush Plan and the Alternatives
FOR THE PAST FEW MONTHS, SENIOR BUSH ADMINISTRATION and military officials have been debating whether and when to launch a military invasion of Iraq. Had they attended, and actually listened to, a late May conference at American University in Washington,...
Liberal Lessons from Welfare Reform: Why Welfare-to-Work Turned out Better Than We Expected. (the Politics)
WHEN CONGRESS PASSED THE PERSONAL Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA) in 1996, the liberal community was almost unanimous in urging President Clinton to veto it. Even people like myself, who had supported Clinton's earlier...
Market Extremists Amok: And How Best to Dethrone Them. (Gazette)
MARKET EXTREMISM doesn't wear hoods, white sheets, or armbands. Skinheads in its ranks are few. Suicide bombers in its cause are even fewer. But the essence of extremism, as opposed to other specific "isms," is to extend--harshly, rigidly, and...
Missiles of Mystery. (Devil in the Details)
IT'S TAKEN US A WHILE, but the Prospect has finally figured out the logic of the Bush administration's antimissile system. To the lay eye, there was always something a little off-kilter about the system. Perhaps it was the way the Air Force rigged...
Money Also Matters: Children Do Better When Parents Earn Decent Incomes. (Children)
IF WELFARE REFORM IS ULTIMATELY to be considered a success, the new system should do a better job than the old one at enabling low-income children to grow up to become healthy, productive adults. Protecting children from destitution was, after all,...
Moral Parent, Moral Child: Family Structure Matters Less to a Child's Development Than the Quality of the Parenting. (Children)
THESE DAYS THERE IS ONCE again a great deal of hand-wringing about the sorry moral state of America's children. All the usual suspects have been rounded up: parents who lack values, schools that neglect "character" education, and--conservative pundits'...
No Huddled Masses Need Apply; Social Policy Discriminates against Immigrants, and Some Are Fearful of Pursuing Even Benefits They Legally Qualify for. (Children)
THE WALK TO THE H STREET welfare office from Washington, D.C.'s Union Station takes a good 20 minutes, longer if you've got small children in tow. You see manicured gardens give way to empty lots, bottles in brown paper bags, and a grocery store...
Philanthropy and Movements. (Common Wealth)
RECENTLY I WAS INVITED TO be the token liberal at a major national conference of conservative foundations. The invitation was to debate Bill Kristol, The Weekly Standard editor, TV pundit, and conservative grand strategist, as the after-dinner entertainment....
The Beltway Rises. (Devil in the Details)
WHILE SWEPT UP IN WORLD Cup mania (that's soccer, for those of you who, like our executive editor, turned away from sports when and because the spitball was outlawed), the Prospect was recently online perusing the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings...
The Darkest Horse: Vermont Governor Howard Dean Is a Fiscal Conservative Who's for Gay Civil Unions, against the Bush Tax Cuts, and Running for President as the Health-Care Candidate
IT'S HARD TO IMAGINE A PLACE SEEMING FARTHER FROM the White House than State Street in Montpelier, Vermont. A bucolic hamlet nestled alongside the Winooski River, Montpelier, a town of 8,000, must be the only state capital without a McDonald's....
The Future Is Later: The Cloning Fight Comes Down to Abortion-And Down to Earth. (below the Beltway)
IN HIS RECENT BOOK OUR POST-HUMAN Future: Consequences of the Biotechnology Revolution, Francis Fukuyama writes, "Cloning is the opening wedge for a series of new technologies that will ultimately lead to designer babies.... If we get used to cloning...
The Going Rate on Shrinks: Big Pharma and the Buying of Psychiatry. (Gazette)
IT WAS LAST SUMMER IN BERLIN when I first encountered pharmaceutical funhouses. I was one of 4,000 attendees at the 7th World Congress of Biological Psychiatry. Until about a decade ago, pharmaceutical companies passed out pens or notepads with...
The Historical Present: What Has Superseded the Academic Culture Wars of the 1990s? It's Not What You Think. (State of the Debate)
THE PHONE CALL MADE ME nervous. I'd never been offered an all-expense-paid press junket before. Wasn't this the sort of thing you'd expect from a petroleum conglomerate, sponsoring a conference on debunking global warming? Instead, a humble scholarly...
This Is Your Party on Drugs: Can the Democrats Win on Prescription-Drug Prices?
ABOUT THREE YEARS AGO, POLLSTER CELINDA Lake sat down with then-Representative Debbie Stabenow--a Michigan Democrat preparing to run for the Senate--to put together a campaign proposal for prescription drugs. Stabenow had already made headlines...
Welfare Reform Depends on Good Child Care; Isn't the Whole Point to Rescue the Next Generation? (Children)
WHEN THE 1996 WELFARE-REFORM BILL WAS passed, one of its many controversial provisions was the imposition of work requirements on single mothers applying for welfare assistance, even if they had very young children. In part, these requirements simply...
Welfare Reform's Hidden Ally: Part of the Praise Given to Welfare Reform Properly Belongs to the Earned Income Tax Credit. (Income)
THE EARNED INCOME TAX Credit (EITC) lifts more children out of poverty than any other social program in America--indeed, more than all other means-tested benefit programs combined. That's because it provides a substantial tax credit for low-income...
What Does Minnesota Know? No Need to Consult the States: The White House Has Welfare Reform All Figured Out
IN AN AGING ST. PAUL NEIGHBORHOOD KNOWN AS Frogtown, at a storefront social-services agency called Lifetrack Resources, Tina Thompson and Angela Fink are meeting one afternoon to discuss the impoverished clients they are trying to move into the...
When Low Wages Don't Add Up; Income Transfers Can Help, but Nothing Confers Independence So Much as Decent Earnings. (Income)
ELENA, A SINGLE MOTHER LIVING in San Diego, is well aware of the pressure to get off welfare and take whatever employment is available. "Get a job, get a job, then get a better job" was the message she got from her welfare caseworker. "I didn't...
Why Not a New War on Poverty? Many Former Welfare Recipients Are Succeeding at Work. but Can We Make Work Pay? (Income)
THE DEBATE IN WASHINGTON over welfare policy has taken an unfortunate turn: Republicans and many Democrats seem to be in a battle over who can be tougher on poor people rather than who can be tougher on poverty. It's too bad, because in the early...