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 No. 32, May-June

Clean Elections, Continued
One might have thought (or at least hoped) that the revelations of scandalous fundraising practices in the 1996 campaign would improve prospects for enacting much-needed reforms, much as tales of the outrageous behavior by the Committee to Reelect...
Devil in the Details
BLOOD ON THE HIGHWAY? Who could be against traffic safety? Well, according to the sublimely named American Highway Users Alliance (AHUA), environmentalists and urban planners, of all people. At issue is the 1991 Intermodal Surface Transportation...
Family Values: The Sequel
In 1976, a team of social researchers returned to the small midwestern city that Helen and Robert Lynd immortalized as "Middletown" a half century earlier in the sociological classic by that name. Like the rest of the country in the 1970s, Middletown--actually...
Gangbusters: Enjoining the Boys in the 'Hood
The city of Inglewood, population 140,000, lies in the southwest corner of the Los Angeles sprawl. It has the features of almost every other L.A. suburb--long commercial strips of burger shacks and auto body shops, low-rise neighborhoods of motel-style...
Guilty by Association
Addressing the root causes of crime is a long-term project, but residents of crime-plagued neighborhoods quite properly demand "freedom now" from the intimidating thuggery that inhibits their activities. In response, local governments have contemplated...
Hoop Schemes?
A White House congratulatory ceremony for a championship sports team is usually just a big, friendly photo opportunity, filled with the platitudes and gift exchanges typical of such an apolitical celebration. But in 1991, when the National Basketball...
No Bargain
In places as diverse as Anchorage and El Paso, Nassau County and New Orleans, get-tough prosecutors are promising to ban plea bargaining. Too many criminals get off easy, they insist; take away plea bargains, and more will get the punishments they...
Rules That Liberate
Recently, I participated in a new television program called Debates, Debates, in which two teams have an hour to argue an issue of the day. The proposition under debate that day was whether trade sanctions should ever be used to advance human rights....
Scandals for Dummies
On the first Sunday in March, the Washington Post published an investigative piece highlighting Vice President Al Gore's central role in the Democratic Party fundraising operation. The article, by Bob Woodward, chronicled how Gore called donors one...
The Big Tilt: Participatory Inequality in America
Recent debate about American society has focused attention on declining civic participation and the consequent fraying of the social fabric. Are declining bowling league memberships evidence of the erosion of civil society? Or are bowling leagues...
The Devil in Devolution
The shift in government's center of gravity away from Washington and toward the states--a transition propelled by both popular sentiment and budget imperatives, and blessed by leaders in both major parties-reflects an uncommon pause in an endless...
The Hidden Paradox of Welfare Reform
When Bill Clinton first sought the presidency, he promised to "end welfare as we know it." Instead of letting single mothers stay home until their children were fully grown, he argued that mothers who sought government help should go to work within...
The Mystery of the Falling Crime Rate
What's behind the declines in violent crime? The question prompts lively discussion among people coming at a huge social issue from different angles: Some point to random demographic changes, others cite lock-'em-up prison policies; still others,...
The Other Civic America: Religion and Social Capital
Since the time of the Puritan divine Jonathan Edwards, Americans have lamented the decline of their society. Something has gone terribly wrong, we hear; the future looks grim unless we repent. This may be effective homiletics, but it is usually not...
The Privateers' Free Lunch
Behind the various proposals for privatizing Social Security, in whole or in part, is one seductive assumption. By investing their savings individually in financial markets, rather than collectively relying on the Social Security system, workers supposedly...
Up from Bipartisanship
Conventional political opinion holds that Democrats should henceforth engage in an orgy of bipartisanship. According to this view, Americans are converging at a new center somewhat right of the old center; they want their leaders to work constructively...
Whistling Past the Trade Deficit
Soon after he was nominated to be Secretary of Commerce, Bill Daley called in several prominent trade experts to brief him. What, he asked them, was the most important thing he should know? Claude Barfield from the American Enterprise Institute was...
Who's Afraid of Michael Jordan?
One of the blackest players ever to play professional basketball was white. "Even though he wasn't fast and he didn't go for fancy dunks or anything like that," Dennis Rodman writes in Bad As I Wanna Be, " [Boston Celtic Larry] Bird was one of...
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