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. 5, June

A Needless Housing Collapse: The Success of a Pioneering Program for Moderate-Income Buyers Proves That the Subprime Disaster Was Not the Fault of Homeowners and Shouldn't Have Happened
John Smith's four-bedroom house stands tall on Cleveland's East Side, its tidy cream siding and green lawn oblivious to the devastation that has scarred the surrounding neighborhood. It is everything thousands of foreclosed homes in the area are not:...
Barack Obama's Theory of Power: It's Bipartisan, Above-the-Fray, Detached-And It Hasn't Worked Can Obama Alter It and Save His Presidency?
Power is not only what you have, but what your enemy thinks you have. --SAUL ALINSKY Barack Obama is one of the shrewdest and most compelling political figures in modern times. He had to be, to become our first African American president, ascending...
Can Obama Make the Pivot? Americans Want a President Who Will Stand Up for Them-Which Is Why Obama Must Reframe the National Debate
For some time, liberals have felt that their messenger-in-chief has been AWOL. In the wake of President Barack Obama's acquiescence to $38 billion in spending cuts, many targeted at vulnerable populations, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote...
Cleaning Up the Aftermath of Subprime: Welcome to the Kafkaesque World of Mortgage Loan Servicing. It's Time for National Consumer Standards-And Prosecutions for Fraud, Too
JPMorgan Chase trumpeted some impressive news on Jan. 14, 2011. It had earned a record $17.4 billion in quarterly profits in fiscal year 2010, a 47 percent jump from the previous quarter. Three days later, the bank quietly released a less flattering...
Designed to Fail: The Obama Administration's Mortgage-Modification Program Was Created More to Help Lenders Than Homeowners. It's Time to Reverse Priorities
Two years into its life, the Obama administration s headline housing effort, the Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, is struggling, and so are the families it's supposed to help. Well over a million homes have been lost to foreclosure since...
Fannie, Freddie, and the Future: The Secondary Mortgage Market Worked Better When It Was a True Public Institution
In the aftermath of the greatest housing crisis since the Great Depression, a fundamental debate is under way about the architecture of U.S. mortgage markets. At the heart of this debate is the future of Fannie Mac and Freddie Mac, the so-called government-sponsored...
Feelin' Bad
Americans are in a funk. Nearly two years into our economic recovery, nobody save the rich seems to be experiencing it. According to a New York Times/CBS News poll in April, Americans are more pessimistic about the economy than at anytime since the...
Gone with the 2010 Win: White Democratic Elected Officials Have Vanished from Dixie. Can Southern Dems Rebound as a Black-and-Brown Party?
Mike Berlon believes that he can rebuild the Democratic Party of Georgia. Elected state party chair in January, after serving eight years as party chair for the second-largest county in the state, Berlon has the unenviable task of recovering from last...
Is WikiLeaks Good? Is It Evil? Is It Journalism?
GABRIEL ARANA: The WikiLeaks expose brings up the basic paradox of classified information and transparency: You don't know whether it should be classified unless you know what it is. MONICA POTTS: Right, which is exactly why WikiLeaks is irresponsible....
Masked Identity Politics: Comic-Book Creators Have Grappled with How to Handle Race for Decades-But Don't Expect This Summer's Superhero Flicks to Reflect That Struggle
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] A Purple-skinned alien hurtles across the cosmos, bearing a ring that grants its wearer unimaginable power. The alien is mortally wounded, and the ring is seeking its next wearer--the Green Lantern, Earth's champion--by finding...
Not with My Home: Homeowners Have Been at the Mercy of Banks since the Foreclosure Crisis Began. A Network of Activists and Organizers Is Trying to Change That
In 2004, Egyptian immigrant Mohamed Nour and his wife, Heba, decided they could do better than their cramped two-bedroom apartment in Boston. They were expecting their second child, and rent was more expensive each year. They found a two-story, three-bedroom...
Race, Gender, and 2012
If the 2008 election was all about change, then the 2012 race promises to be a referendum on whether things have actually changed. I'm not only talking about Obama's ability to fulfill his campaign promises of a more prosperous, fairer America. I'm...
Reform That Hurts Homebuyers
The 2010 Dodd-Frank Act is designed to purge unfair, deceptive, and exploitive financial products and practices from the financial markets. Included in the law is a provision not well known to the general public that could dramatically reduce availability...
Restoring the Dream: The Collapse of the Housing Bubble Need Not Destroy Homeownership as the Anchor of the Middle Class. but We Need Much Bolder Government Action
After more than 70 years of steady and remarkable success, America's housing and homeownership policies have been rocked by the rise of subprime lending, the financial sector's subsequent collapse, and the millions of resulting mortgage delinquencies,...
The Bell Swerve: Charles Murray Surveys the Crisis in White America and Isn't Sure Whom to Blame
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] On the list of right-wing villains, American Enterprise Institute Scholar Charles Murray ranks somewhere between Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and the late Dixiecrat turned Republican senator Jesse Helms. Retired New York...
The Demise of the Moderate Republican
Though commentators often portray the Democrats and Republicans as mirror images of each other, American politics is not symmetrical. We do not have one party that represents the left in just the way that the other party represents the right. Among...
Why Movements Matter: Paradigm-Shifting Elections Don't Shift Paradigms If There Aren't Corresponding Social Movements for Change
One thing we now know with certainty, more than two years into Barack Obama's presidency, is that change is an uphill battle. We're already defending hard-won gains on health care and financial reform (not to mention the fundamental legislation of...