Art Levine

Art Levine is a contributing editor of The Washington Monthly and a former Health Policy Fellow with the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI). He is the author of PPI's 2005 report, “Parity-Plus: A Third Way Approach to Fix America's Mental Health System,” and is currently working on a book on mental-health issues. He also blogs at The Huffington Post. Follow at ArtL7 on Twitter.

Recent Articles

The DeLay Wannabes

Amid all the turmoil over House ethics rules and Tom DeLay's expanding assortment of scandals, the embattled majority leader's Republican minions quickly resorted to the old “everybody does it” defense. “The things that Tom has been criticized about in one way or another every member of Congress could be criticized about,” declares Majority Whip Roy Blunt. Fortunately, that's a considerable exaggeration. But several members of Congress have shown themselves, like DeLay, to be more inclined than most of their colleagues to push the ethical envelope. Although public outrage in April forced the Republican leadership to repeal the rigged rules designed to protect DeLay, the House Ethics Committee should look hard at other alleged miscreants, including the three Republicans and one Democrat whose cases are detailed below. How likely is that? Now stacked with compliant Republicans tied financially to DeLay, the long-dormant ethics panel is even more flaccid since Speaker Dennis Hastert booted...

The Super-Lobbyist's "Friend"

This article is excerpted from an examination of congressional ethics that will appear in our June issue. Take pity on poor Bob Ney, who insists he's just another victim of lobbyist Jack Abramoff and public-relations consultant Michael Scanlon. Unlike the half-dozen Indian tribes that paid about $82 million to that scamming duo, however, the U.S. representative at least got campaign donations and a lavish trip to Scotland's legendary St. Andrew's golf course out of them. Whether he got more than that is now a matter of interest to Justice Department investigators, according to a knowledgeable source who says that the probers are seeking to discover whether Ney received any illegal donations from Abramoff. An affable, 50-year-old conservative Republican from Ohio, Ney now portrays himself as a "dupe" of Abramoff and Scanlon, the pair of rapscallions targeted by the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and the Justice Department for their alleged defrauding of tribes seeking increased clout...

Confessions Of A (Former) Y2K Paranoid

Next time we face the threat of a worldwide apocalyptic technological breakdown, I'm sure my hoard of meals ready to eat (MREs), battery-powered lamps, and Eco-Fuel cooking equipment will come in very handy indeed. But on New Year's Day, as I looked at my case of Millennium Gourmet dehydrated foods sitting untouched in my storage closet, I was overcome with a certain sadness. In the course of reporting on Y2K issues and the survivalist fringe, I'd turned into something of a paranoid Y2K nut myself (even as I kept up my pose as an amused, ironic writer on Y2K extremism). By the time my mania reached its height last summer, I had nearly rented a retreat in the Florida Keys, gorged myself on Web sites and books with titles like Time Bomb 2000 , and happily spent hours leafing through survivalist catalogs. I thought it was all a rational response to the computer-related menace forecast even by mainstream experts, such as the General Accounting Office (which predicted...

How Low Can You Go?

The Case for Poverty The Census Bureau reports that the gap between rich and poor is the widest it's been since World War II, but according to Ernest Van Den Haag, writing in op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal , that's no cause for concern. Such inequality "is economically beneficial" because it creates an incentive to work hard and avoid poverty. If government acts to raise wages on the bottom of the income scale, Van Den Haag warns, people would have little reason to work hard, take risks, and invest their extra wealth. We expect that in future essays Van Den Haag will be coming out strongly for hunger, because, with his ruthless economic logic, he can show that it stirs people to work harder to avoid starvation. No doubt unemployment is good for the same reason; many others have argued as much. It's quite wonderful that anything bad is actually good because the prospect of bad things is what makes people work hard. Professor Van Den Haag, meet Dr. Pangloss. A New Take on...

How Low Can You Go

Downsizing Etiquette I n his own variation of Teddy Roosevelt's maxim, President Clinton is talking softly and carrying a little stick by asking corporations to be nice to their workers. But if the June 10 issue of Fortune is any guide, such gentle proddings have yet to make an impact. In an article headlined, "How to Fire People and Still Sleep at Night," the magazine offers handy do's and don'ts for sensitive managers: "Everyone is likely to be affected in some way," the empathetic journal says of layoffs, "but the managers who do the actual firing are often hurt the most." (Apparently, canned workers and their families don't suffer so exquisitely.) To avoid any problems, the magazine—with apparent seriousness—recommends helpful pointers to would-be hatchet men: "Never fire your father" (The reason: you could get fired if you try to soften the blow by giving dear old Dad extra severance pay) . . . don't fire a worker on Take Our Daughters to Work Day (it's bad PR when the father and...

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