Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is the executive editor of The American ProspectHis email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Bernie Defines Socialism

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders speaks at Georgetown University in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2015. D uring the 1930s, conservatives repeatedly alleged that Franklin Roosevelt was really a socialist. Today, Bernie Sanders said they were right. In a long-awaited speech heralded as providing his definition of “democratic socialism,” the Vermont senator and Democratic presidential candidate on Thursday afternoon told a packed crowd of Georgetown University students—most of whom waited hours in a drenching rain to hear him—that by democratic socialism, he meant the economic and social principles laid down by FDR, most particularly in his 1944 State of the Union Address. In that speech, Roosevelt proclaimed that the nation needed a second, economic bill of rights. Sanders quoted the passage in which Roosevelt laid out the philosophic basis for such an expansion of rights: “True individual freedom,” Roosevelt said, “cannot exist without...

Why America Needs Another Trust-Busting Movement

(Photo: AP/Richard Drew)
(Photo: AP/Richard Drew) ABInBev, which makes Budweiser, reached an agreement last month to combine with SABMiller, and in a related deal this week, MolsonCoors announced plans to acquire SABMiller's majority stake in Miller Coors. This article originally appeared in The Washington Post . L ike immense amoebas on the prowl, America’s already huge corporations are combining like nobody’s business. In recent months, Walgreens bought Rite Aid , uniting two of the nation’s three largest drugstore chains; in beerland, Molson Coors is buying Miller ; mega-health insurers Aetna and Anthem, respectively, bought mega-health insurers Humana and Cigna ; Heinz bought Kraft , good news for those who take ketchup with their cheese; and American Airlines completed its absorption of US Airways, reducing the number of major U.S. airlines to four, which now control 70 percent of the air travel market. On Wall Street, the five biggest commercial banks hold nearly half of the nation’s bank assets; in...

Casino Capitalism, Part II

In olden times, when you read about the Nevada Gaming Commission looking into the ownership of Las Vegas casinos, the story was always about the commissioners sniffing around for evidence of organized crime’s hidden interests. As anyone who’s watched Martin Scorsese’s Casino (which sticks fairly close to Vegas’s actual history) can attest, the Mafia families that owned the hotel-casinos on the Vegas Strip had to find fronts—obliging attorneys, developers and the like—to serve as the ostensible owners and executives for the Sands, the Flamingo, the Stardust, the Tropicana, and so on. The agreed-upon fiction was that by enforcing a rule that convicted felons could have no role in owning or running the gaming tables, the Commission would keep Vegas clean.

Today, the Mafia is more a memory than a going concern, and its control of Vegas has long since ended. Recently, however, the Commission has been asked to look into the ownership of some Vegas casinos by a new shady character: the global financial behemoth Deutsche Bank. The Vegas local of UNITE HERE, the hotel workers union—a local I profiled for the Prospect back in 2004—has asked the Commission to determine whether Germany’s largest bank is a suitable owner for the city’s Station Casinos, a company that has thwarted its employees’ attempts to unionize, and in which DB has a 25 percent ownership share. As the union’s complaint correctly notes, DB paid a $2.5 billion fine this spring for its role in illegally manipulating the LIBOR interest rate on inter-bank loans to its own advantage and to the detriment of virtually everyone else. Its co-CEOs were compelled to resign as a result of the scandal. 

Out goes the Mafia, in come the banks. Won’t Vegas ever clean up its act?

Bibi's Fertilizer

Netanyahu meets with American progressives and dodges their questions.

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais
AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks at the Center for American Progress, Tuesday, November 10, 2015, in Washington. “ My father always said, ‘Conversation fertilizes thought,’” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said while wrapping up his comments at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting with American progressives at the Center for American Progress. Unfortunately, though not surprisingly, there was a lot more fertilizer than thought in his remarks. That assessment may be a touch unfair. Netanyahu has clearly given a lot of thought to how to evade questions that challenge the consequences, or even the rationality, of his policies. Asked how he envisioned Israel’s future absent a two-state solution—that is, an Israel with a Palestinian majority, an Israel that will inevitably emerge if it persists in occupying the West Bank—Netanyahu spoke instead of the need for Israeli troops to patrol the West Bank and Gaza. He invoked the specter of...

America's White Working Class Is a Dying Breed

After decades of economic and social decline, the group's rising death toll should come as no surprise. 

AP Photo/Charles Krupa
AP Photo/Charles Krupa Supporters of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump wait in line as the sun sets prior to a campaign rally in Tyngsborough, Massachusetts, Friday, October 16, 2015. This article originally appeared at The Washington Post . T he news this week that the death rate of middle-aged American whites—more particularly, working-class middle-aged American whites—is rising, while that of all other Americans continues to fall, is appalling. But it should come as no surprise. A study released Monday by Princeton economists Angus Deaton (the 2015 Nobel laureate in economics) and Anne Case documented that the number of deaths by suicide, alcohol use, and drug use among working-class whites ages 45 to 54 has risen precipitously since 1999—so precipitously that the overall death rate for this group increased by 22 percent . Death rate increases in the modern world are so rare that economists and public-health scholars have been groping for equivalent instances. “Only...

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