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. 21, No. 2, March

A Tour of Six States
The Tar Heel State NORTH CAROLINA A Better Place To Be (Unless You're Poor) NORTH CAROLINA's fiscal crisis isn't unique, but in a region where tax increases have long been political poison, the way state officials are dealing with it is....
Buckeye Budget Blues: Ohio Has All the Reform Elements in Place-Except Political Will
In Ohio, decades of deindustrialization, a tax-cut strategy pursued with nearly equal zeal by both parties, and the deep recession combine to create a severe fiscal nightmare. There are some promising glimpses of momentum building for a smarter, more...
California in Crisis: With a Dysfunctional State Government Unable to Act, the Universities, Schools, and Roads That Were Once the Model for the Nation Are Crumbling-If Not Collapsing
California is broken--and broke. Its K-12 public schools, roads, levies, aqueducts, parks, and bridges; its health-care system; home health care for the elderly and disabled; and even its once-envied public universities are all crumbling from long-term...
Come See for Yourself: New Jersey: The Garden State: Growing Worse!
Exacerbated by the national recession and collapse of nearby Wall Street, NEW JERSEY has dealt with a soaring deficit and tax problems for years. By borrowing money to balance its budget, New Jersey accrued an extraordinary $44 billion debt. Payments...
Digging out, Planning Ahead: The Federal Government Needs to Do More to Help States Survive This Downturn-And Plan for Permanent Anti-Recession Fiscal Relief
Feb. 17, 2009, was a historic day for the economic relationship between the federal government and the states. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, signed into law that day, constituted an effort of unprecedented scope by the federal government...
Enter a Higher State: Colorado: Rocky Mountain Highs (and Lows)
In some ways, COLORADO is luckier than its regional neighbors like Nevada and Arizona, states that bought into the housing bubble in a huge way and are now suffering accordingly. On the other hand, those states never had to deal with Colorado's 1992...
Eric Holder's War: For the Attorney General, Remaking the Rule of Law in a New Century Is as Personal as It Is Professional
Hours before dawn on one of the last days of October 2009, the deadliest month for American troops in Afghanistan since 2001, Eric Holder, attorney general of the United States, strode out of a C-17 cargo plane parked at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware....
Fantasy-League Politics
In mid-January, former Rep. Harold Ford, a conservative Democrat from Tennessee who in 2006 almost became the first African American elected to the Senate from the South since Reconstruction, made it known that he might want to try again. This time...
Fiscal Folly
The economy is still very fragile, yet Washington seems more fixated on deficits than on recovery. Fiscal conservatives in Congress hope to hold recovery spending hostage for long-term caps on social outlay, and they have some company in the White...
Florida's Monorail
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] At Next American City, WILLY STALEY saw something familiar in ALEC MACGILLIS' assessment of suburban-renewal guru Richard Florida ("The Ruse of the Creative Class"): "MacGillis paints the professor as some sort of urban-planning...
Germany's Economic Engine: Why the German Model Has Held Up Even as So Many Other Major Economies Have Collapsed
American and British commentators have told three stories about the German economy over the past decade, all of them derogatory. Articulating a standard conservative view, Adam Posen of the Peterson Institute for International Economics in 2006 characterized...
Literature from the Underground: Does a New Anthology Devoted to a Hip-Hop Classic Elevate the Genre to Its Rightful Place as a Literary Form?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Illmatic, the first album by hip-hop elder statesman Nas, is a masterpiece. Released in 1994, its tales of scowling corner boys, prowling drug addicts, undercover cops, treacherous lovers, and remorseful gangsters are so vivid...
Loosening Fiscal Straitjackets: Proponents Say That Caps on Taxing and Spending Enhance Democracy. in Reality, They Destroy Accountable Government-But That Can Be Changed
When Justice Louis Brandeis famously called states "laboratories of democracy," he might not have envisioned the out-of-control monstrosities that those laboratories sometimes produce. Case in point: caps or formula-based limits on revenues and spending...
Public Capacity and Public Trust: Can We Reverse the Vicious Circle of Frustrated Citizens Denying State Government Adequate Resources-And Then Resenting the Lack of State Services?
For 30 years we have witnessed a downward spiral of eroding public trust in government. While the federal government deals with the most momentous issues--national security, health reform, global climate change-state government has borne the brunt...
Reform amid Fiscal Ruin: In Some States, Progressive Leadership and Grass-Roots Activism Have Turned Crisis into Opportunity for Long-Deferred Tax Reform
In October 2007, two months before the onset of the worst U.S. recession since the Great Depression, Maryland's Democratic governor, Martin O'Malley, convened a special session of his state's Democrat-controlled General Assembly in a high-stakes effort...
State Fiscal Gimmicks: A Budgetary Balancing Act: Phony Budget Accounting Defers the Day of Reckoning-But Raises Costs
When state legislators and governors talk about the care with which they keep their states fiscally sound, they frequently refer to the mandate that they pass a balanced budget--a requirement in all states except Vermont. Every dollar spent is presumably...
Swagger like Us
Ever since women began making serious workplace gains in the 1970s, there has been a debate about the best way for them to climb the professional ladder. More often than not, the answer has been to "act like a man"--if you can't beat the boys' club,...
The Bicycle Grief: In the Quest for Bike-Friendly Cities, Are Snobby Cyclists Their Own Worst Enemies?
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Celebrity is an odd thing in Washington. Typically, it s defined by an honorific, a motorcade, or maybe a bungled appearance at a state dinner. So it was a rare moment when New York City's transportation commissioner, Janette...
The Ultimate Test Case: Obama Has Staked His Entire Foreign-Policy Vision on His Decision to Escalate in Afghanistan. What If He Made the Wrong Choice?
Back in the spring of 2008, with his bruising presidential primary battle against fellow-Senator Hillary Clinton all but over, Barack Obama's prosaic work as a junior senator became national news--and gave him a chance to advance his own foreign-policy...
Transparency for What? the Left, Right, and Center Agree That They Want More State Budget Data. but Not All Data Improves Policy
"Transparency" was probably the word of the year for 2009, at least in policy circles. At the federal level, President Barack Obama's memo on his first day in office promised "an unprecedented level of openness in Government ... transparency, public...
Underrating Reform: Even with Its Compromises, Health Reform Is the Most Ambitious Effort in Decades to Reorganize a Big Part of Life around Principles of Justice and Efficiency
If Congress can complete work on health-care legislation and send it to the president (as of mid-January, the final bill is still under negotiation), it will be a stunning historical achievement and the most important liberal reform since the 1960s....
Why Are the Ladies So into Peter Orszag, Obama's Budget Guru?
ANN FRIEDMAN: Aminatou, you identified Orszag as a hottie over a year ago. What exactly is so appealing about our Office of Management and Budget director? AMINATOU SOW: Besides his quiet and dashing looks? The man is good with numbers and ultimately...
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