Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

How Capitalism Works Now

The Disposable American: Layoffs and Their Consequences by Louis Uchitelle (Alfred A. Knopf, 283 pages, $25.95) All Together Now: Common Sense For a Fair Economy by Jared Bernstein (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 154 pages, $12.00) America Back on Track by Senator Edward M. Kennedy (Viking, 210 pages, $24.95) When it comes to the fundamentals of our new-model economy, even the definitions of common words have changed for the worse. As recently as 1989, the Oxford English Dictionary defined “layoff” as a temporary dismissal. But in the years since then, as the permanent layoff became a pillar of contemporary business practices, it was the OED 's definition that proved to be provisional. That point about changing usage comes from The Disposable American , Louis Uchitelle's important new study of the growing instability of employment in the United States. The literature on the laissez-faire capitalism of the past quarter-century doesn't lack for withering critiques, but Uchitelle's book...

After Victory

Against their better judgment, the Democrats are starting to taste it. In the House, the number of Republican incumbents polling under 50 percent considerably exceeds the number of seats the Democrats need to pick up to make Nancy Pelosi Speaker. Controlling the Senate depends on winning two of the contests in three Upper South states -- Missouri, Tennessee, Virginia -- that could go either way. And then what? Putting a fleet of carts before a herd of horses, let's look at the legislation that the Democrats would push through the House and just maybe through the Senate. (Even if they win the upper house, of course, they'll still need the support of a number of Republicans to overcome a filibuster.) In the House, the Democrats have made clear that there's a first tier of legislation they mean to bring to a vote almost immediately after the new Congress convenes. It includes raising the minimum wage, repealing the Medicare legislation that forbids the government from negotiating with...

NO SPACE TO FILL.

NO SPACE TO FILL. Whatever the realities of family life that contributed to Mark Warner �s decision this morning to bow out of the 2008 presidential race, there had to be some pretty compelling political realities that contributed to his decision as well. Chiefly, the fact that there really isn�t all that much political space to run to Hillary Clinton �s right in that year�s Democratic primaries and caucuses. Indeed, Hillary�s decision to position herself in the center-right of the party set the stage for Warner�s fall and John Edwards �s rise in this year�s sorting of Democratic presidential hopefuls. Her positions on the largest economic questions, particularly her advocacy of education, broadly defined, as the solution to the dislocations of globalization, anchor her firmly in the Robert Rubin wing of the party. Her don�t-rock-the-boat-too-much-capsizing-though-it-be position on Iraq, while by no means close to Joe Lieberman �s embrace of administration policy, still puts her...

Problem Politics

Let's stipulate at the outset that if the Republican Congress had done a decent job addressing the nation's problems over the past two years, the Foley scandal and cover-up wouldn't now be plunging the Republicans into political perdition. Instead, the scandal has served chiefly to crystallize in the public's mind much that it has come to loathe about both the Congress and the Bush administration -- above all, their unwavering focus on the politics of a problem rather than the problem itself. It's not just that congressional Republicans have neglected to do anything about the conduct of the war in Iraq, or diminishing medical and retirement benefits, or the 12 million undocumented immigrants living and working here. It's also that they've fabricated crises if the politics seemed propitious. (Remember Terry Schiavo?) Or they've concocted public problems in order to go after groups that pose political problems for them. So they've contended that trial lawyers, who are a major funding...

Fall Guy of Foleygate

It is a mark of the sheer panic sweeping the ranks of Republican congressmen that one of their most levelheaded members, Ray LaHood of Illinois, has suggested that Congress abolish its page program altogether in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal. What conclusion are we supposed to draw from LaHood's proposal? That members of Congress cannot be trusted in the company of adolescents? If so, why punish the adolescents? Whatever happened in the Foley case surely wasn't the fault of the pages to whom Foley came on electronically, much less every teenager who has worked, or would like to work, as a page. If LaHood believes that pages pose an irresistible temptation to his peers, there are surely solutions straight out of the Republican playbook that wouldn't punish the victims. How about building a 700-foot fence around all Republican members of Congress? One thing is certain: Just dumping Denny Hastert as speaker, as many conservatives are demanding, won't clean up the Republican act...

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