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. 11, No. 15, June 19

A Clean Sweep
THE SEIU'S ORGANIZING DRIVE FOR JANITORS SHOWS HOW UNIONIZATION CAN RAISE WAGES On Friday, April 7, I came upon one method of increasing the income of the working poor that, I confess, had never even occurred to me. The janitors of Service Employees...
Bigots' Rights
Should evangelical Christian groups at colleges and universities be permitted to discriminate against gay and lesbian students? Do the Boy Scouts have a constitutional right to exclude openly gay males? The first question is at the center of efforts...
Buchanan's Bite
Not so long ago, Democrats just loved the idea of third-party candidates who came along and shaved points off the margins of major party nominees. The offices at the Democratic National Committee echoed with schadenfreude last fall when Pat Buchanan...
Child's Play
WHY UNIVERSAL, HIGH-QUALITY DAY CARE SHOULD BE ELEMENTARY Tracey Hunt, a 28-year-old single mother living in Boston's Fenway neighborhood, did not want to go back on welfare. She had been there before, about five years ago, while she was pregnant...
Correspondence
STALLED IN PARADISE TO THE EDITORS: Michael Massing's "Stalled in Paradise [TAP, May 22, 2000] is one of the best of the many articles appearing recently about sprawl versus smart growth. But none of them lays out the debate well enough to mobilize...
Embarrassment of Riches
When Vice President Al Gore promised to retire the national debt by 2013 and even to run surpluses in the case of a recession, I assumed that he was merely trying to score a political point by contrasting his own fiscal conservatism with the recklessness...
Ending Poverty as We Know It
A REPORT FROM WASHINGTON STATE Last year, when the editor of another magazine asked me to write about the progress of welfare reform in America, I called around to see which state was leading the way. I ended up in Wisconsin. Under the direction...
Finite Jest
The frenzy surrounding Dave Eggers and his debut memoir, A Heartbreaking Work Staggering Genius, reached a certain kind climax in late April. Eggers had already been beatified by critics, his book lovingly reviewed as a major breakthrough, and the...
Guns and Money
More than a year after the massacre at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, Congress remains unwilling to pass even the most incremental legislation controlling access to lethal weapons. There is no better explanation for that than the role...
How Welfare Offices Undermine Welfare Form
Welfare and related policy reforms adopted by Congress in the 1990s seemed to strike an implicit bargain with low-wage working families. Parents were expected to meet their "personal responsibility" for supporting themselves and their children by leaving...
Is Scrooge a Democrat Now?
By the third week of July, at its so-called "midyear budget review," the White House will unveil its new projected 10-year, federal budget. Insiders tell me it's likely to show a surplus that s half a trillion dollars larger than the one now projected....
Ladders to a Better Life
One promising strategy for rewarding work seeks to create career ladders to enable low-wage workers to advance through a progression of higher-skilled and better-paid jobs. This approach requires several elements. Employers need to become more explicit...
Martha Jernegons's New Shoes
Last fall, Martha Jernegons got a raise. By the standards of the new dot-com economy, it wasn't much--just $2.15 per hour. But for Jernegons, a 56-year-old home health care aide in Chicago, working for a private agency that is reimbursed by the city,...
Nader's Raid
In late April, the forces of compassionate conservatism issued notice of yet another battle won over the evils of Clintonism. "Bush Shows Strength in Pacific Northwest," proclaimed a press release from the Bush campaign in bold faux newspaperese. And...
Ralph Nader: A Conversation
ROBERT KUTTNER: I am sympathetic to much of your diagnosis of the dependence of both parties on corporations. But I am skeptical about what you can really accomplish tactically. Historically, what have American third parties accomplished in the past,...
Scout's Honor
Does freedom of expression require freedom to discriminate? Two authors take two paths through a minefield for liberals. Before the end of June, the Supreme Court will decide whether the Boy Scouts can be forced by antidiscrimination law to accept...
Skills and the Wage Collapse
Despite the record economic expansion and near full employment, wages for the bottom fifth of the work force are still far below their 1979 levels. Well over one-fifth of the male work force earns poverty-level wages (22.5 percent in 1997), almost...
The Character Issue
On the Lifetime channel, a witty Wendy Wasserstein script comes as a breath of fresh air. When Wendy Wasserstein's play An American Daughter premiered in 7, critics deemed it superficial, suggesting that Wasserstein had failed to do justice to the...
The Other Gender Gap
AMERICAN WOMEN WORKING FULL TIME STILL EARN ONLY 74 CENTS FOR EACH DOLLAR EARNED BY MEN. WHAT'S A WOMAN'S WORK WORTH? Hazel Dews is slightly embarrassed when you ask about her salary. She pauses and then confesses that after 25 years cleaning the...
The Prince Is Dead. Long Live the Prince
The fast-paced disjointedness of Almereyda's film makes this Hamlet acutely expressive of our own exploding culture. On multiple video monitors at his Manhattan apartment in the Hotel Elsinore, the modern Hamlet (Ethan Hawke) mesmerizes himself...
The Taxonomist
BUSH'S NEW MATH Suppose you're the chief economic adviser to George W. Bush. For the past five months, you've been telling the public and your boss that his tax cut plan will cost $1.3 trillion over 10 years. How do you deal with the fact that your...
Two Cheers for the Earned Income Tax Credit
I like the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) a lot. I also really like brownies with gobs of vanilla ice cream and hot fudge. But I don't have them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The EITC--a refundable tax credit that subsidizes the wages of low-income...
Welfare That Works
LESSONS FROM THREE EXPERIMENTS THAT FIGHT DEPENDENCY AND POVERTY BY REWARDING WORK Through recent decades, America's social welfare policies have oscillated between two contradictory impulses. The 1960s were marked by a campaign against poverty;...
Working Principles
FROM ENDING WELFARE TO REWARDING WORK The Cabinet met with the president in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on a sultry day in the summer of 1996. Many of us recommended that he not sign the welfare bill that the Republican Congress had sent...
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