Ben Adler

Ben Adler writes on national politics and domestic policy. Ben has been a staff writer for Politico and an editor at Newsweek and the Center for American Progress. His writing has also appeared in The Atlantic, The Nation, The Daily Beast, Columbia Journalism Review, Salon, The Washington Monthly, The New Republic, The Guardian and Next American City among other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Recent Articles

Defense and the Deficit

Democrats could actually cut the deficit and redefine foreign policy by going after defense spending -- if only they were brave enough to try.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates. (Sipa via AP Images)

You might think that with the Iraq War thoroughly discredited and recent polls showing that a majority of the public favors reducing defense spending, cutting the Pentagon's bloated budget would finally be on the table. Or at least you'd expect Democrats would propose cutting military spending instead of home-heating subsidies for the poor. But you'd be wrong.

Ignoring the Public on Social Security

After years of browbeating, conservatives have succeeded in convincing Americans that Social Security is in trouble, but that doesn't mean it is.

Social Security checks (AP Photo/Bradley C. Bower)

To hear the deficit doomsayers, you would think the U.S.' fiscal collapse were imminent unless Democrats immediately agreed to painful cuts in core anti-poverty programs like Social Security. Last week, No Labels -- a supposedly nonpartisan group that seems to exist to promote Alan Simpson's austerity agenda -- blasted Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid for refusing to join in the deficit hysteria. "Senator Reid's position is out of step with the majority of [the] country when it comes to our financial woes.

On Energy, GOP Doesn't Know What the Problem Is

The logical flaw at the heart of Republicans' proposals to solve the energy crisis

(Flickr/verifex's photostream)

Capitalizing on instability in the Middle East, last week House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed high gas prices -- which have shot up in response to fears of prolonged disruptions in the supply of crude oil -- on President Barack Obama's supposed reluctance to "drill, baby, drill."

"Americans looking at the price of gas at the pump these days are justifiably upset," McConnell said. "What they may not realize is that some in the administration are actively working to prevent us from increasing our own oil production here at home."

Should Disability Funding Be Part of Health Reform?

When it comes to their top legislative priority, disability activists fear later will mean never.

With an estimated 37.5 million eligible voters with a disability -- and the aging baby boom generation means the ranks of the disabled will grow -- disability rights is an emerging brand of identity politics. The Democratic Party has been attuned to the change. The Democratic National Committee (DNC) disability caucus is growing in size and prominence. The Obama campaign had a comprehensive disability-issues platform, and President Obama hired Kareem Dale to be the first White House special assistant for disability policy. On July 21 the president also announced the U.S. will sign on to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

A Tale of Two Exurbs

Most outer-ring suburbs are being developed into unwalkable sprawl. But it doesn't have to be that way.

Leesburg, Virginia, is the archetypal American exurb. Named after an ancestor of Robert E. Lee, it is the seat of Loudoun County, 35 miles northwest of Washington, D.C. -- the farthest true suburb west of Washington. To its west are small towns and a few remaining farms; to its east are highways lined with chain hotels, mega-malls, and the office towers of the defense contractors powering the recent growth in Northern Virginia's economy and population. In 2004, Loudoun was the nation's fastest-growing county, and median home prices were rising by about one-fifth every year. In 1990, Leesburg had only 16,000 people. Now it has 38,000.

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