The Washington Monthly

An independent monthly magazine devoted to politics, government, culture, and the media in America, from a progressive perspective. Publishes investigative and opinion-based feature articles by notable authors, short news items, humorous sidebars, and boo

Articles from Vol. 43, No. 7-8, July-August

20,000 Leagues under the State: Beneath the Surface of American Government Lurks a System of Social Programs for the Wealthy That Is Consuming the Federal Budget. It's Time for Progressives to Do Battle with Tax Expenditures
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Growing up during the Depression, Sam Marchesi had to drop out of school after eighth grade--soon after his father died--to work and help support his mother and his seven younger siblings. When World War II began, he enlisted...
Friends like These: Buried in Obamacare Is a Secret Weapon to Contain Medicare Costs. Meet the Group of House Democrats Who Want to Destroy It
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] When Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan let loose the bombshell of his Republican budget proposal in early April, the pressure in Washington immediately began to mount for President Obama to come back with a response. Hailed...
Playing Chicken with History
If America really is threatened by a growing mountain of debt, shouldn't the wealthy help out by paying higher taxes? Most voters think so, according to polls, and for good reason. The rich have enjoyed staggering run-ups in their incomes and net worth...
The Case for Not-Quite-So-High Speed Rail: The Bad News: Republicans Have Torpedoed Plans for American Bullet Trains. the Good News: The Obama Administration Is Quietly Building a Slower, but Potentially Much Better, Rail System
After concluding some business in Frankfurt, Germany, recently, I found myself with a day to kill and decided to use it to tour the historic Cologne Cathedral, about 120 miles away. I could have rented a car and driven through traffic on the autobahn...
The Lions of Lagos, the Rotarians of Rawalpindi How the Civic Groups That Once Defined America Are Thriving Abroad, and What It Means for Us
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] One sweltering day last spring, out of curiosity and a long-standing interest in the old-fashioned American institutions of civic engagement, I stepped out of my apartment building in the nation's capital and walked over to...
The Trinity Sisters: Many of America's Most Powerful Women Went to a College You've Never Heard Of
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Sister Ann Gormlyis almost ninety, but she still skips the elevator and climbs the steep wooden staircase in the main hall of Trinity College, her alma mater and former employer of many years. I met her there one cold afternoon...
The Unquiet Life of Franz Gayl: A Tech-Savvy Marine Who Made Too Much Noise, Helped Save the Lives of Countless Soldiers in Iraq, and Paid with His Career
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] As he had every morning for years, on October 4, 2010, Franz Gayl woke up at five, fed his two Rhodesian Ridgebacks, and then walked clown the street from his modest home at the end of a cul-de-sac in northern Virginia to...
Tilting at Windmills
Layer cake Much of this column will be devoted to a short course on how Washington really works, with special emphasis on truths that are not widely understood. One of these truths emerged in a survey of government workers by Lisa Rein of the...
Watching Titanic in Pyongyang: What the First Systematic Survey of North Korean Refugees Tells Us about Life Inside the Hermit Kingdom, and about Whether the Regime Might Be Ready to Fall
Witness to Transformation: Refugee Insights into North Korea by Stephan Haggard and Marcus Noland Peterson Institute for International Economics, 256 pp. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Ever since the founding father of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, unexpectedly...