First, a caveat: The American Prospect's strength, in my opinion, is as a cumulative force. TAP is a place where a diversity of voices can debate the political process, geek out on public policy, and indulge in the notion that the world is a complex place worth understanding.
That makes plucking out a single piece as a favorite of the year a particular challenge. Still, I've done it: Paul Waldman's piece, "Scapegoating Federal Workers" from February, which quite accurately predicated that public workers were about to take a starring role in the budget-and-deficit debate. Why? Because Paul dove into the arguments driving the debate, pointing out, for example, that while government workers do make more their private sector counterparts, there are reasons for that -- the outsourcing of administrative jobs to contractors, for example. Paul also tied his piece to big questions about the quality of the public workforce and the targeting of unions in the American political arena. And he did all that before most people were talking about the issue. In sum, reading Paul's piece made you smarter. It's exactly the sort of thing I'm grateful to find in TAP all year long.
-- Nancy Scola