Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

Bewilder Thy Father and Mother

The number one holiday shopping nightmare this year isn't taking place at the malls or at the big-box outlets. It's at our senior centers, where Americans over 65 are trying to figure out which private health insurance plan to enroll in to get their prescription drugs paid for under Medicare's new Part D, which takes effect Jan. 1. As seniors tell the tale, navigating the competing plans is no more complicated than mapping the human genome. In most states, Medicare recipients are presented with dozens of asymmetric options. The plans cover some drugs but not others, with discounts (or not) for generics. Some offer supplemental insurance to cover the gaping hole in the middle of the program (a patient's annual drug expenses exceeding $2,250 are not covered under the law, though coverage kicks back in once the yearly bill tops $5,100); some don't. Some plans re-price their options every day, a boon to seniors who want to make the selection process their life's work. Simplicity may not...

‘50s Hip

In the ever-sketchy collective memory of our nation, the 1950s are the big sleep. They belong to Ozzie and Harriet, and their First Family (somewhat older but just as dull) equivalents, Ike and Mamie. Oh, if you look at the decade closely, you can see the ‘60s beginning to percolate in Elvis and James Dean, in Kerouac and the beats, in the kids who were shortly to sit down at a lunch counter in North Carolina and form SDS at Port Huron. But the grown ups? Squaresville. Living in little boxes. Gutless. The popular sociologists worried chiefly about conformity. From the vantage point of social progress, political courage, and cultural grace, the parents of the boomers were a lost generation. So imagine my astonishment when, midway through George Clooney's terrific film of the Edward R. Murrow-Joseph McCarthy set-to, Good Night, and Good Luck , I realized he was doing the unthinkable. He was making the ‘50s hip. And not the dissident ‘50s of Brando and biker gangs and Greenwich Village...

Open Doors, Closed Minds

By all accounts, Jim Bill Lynn bled Wal-Mart blue. His friend Darrell Altom, who worked with Lynn at Wal-Mart's Searcy, Arkansas, distribution center in the days before Lynn traveled the nation and the world on Wal-Mart's behalf, recalls that at the Monday-morning warehouse meetings back in the mid-'90s, “A lot of managers didn't want to get up and do the [company] cheer, but [Lynn] would do it every week.” “It's corny, but it's part of the culture -- and he was so pro-Wal-Mart.” Lynn and Wal-Mart seemed made for each other. Driven, affable, and politically conservative, with clear managerial aptitude and a boundless appetite for work, Lynn was exactly the kind of young fella for whom Sam Walton's executives were always on the lookout. Wal-Mart was the company that had revolutionized logistics, the just-in-time movement of goods, and by those measures the Searcy center, where Lynn was hired on as a junior manager in 1993, was consistently one of the top three in the nation. Lynn's...

Alito's Smoking Gun

Samuel Alito could not have put it more plainly. "The Constitution," he wrote in a 1985 job application he posted to the Reagan administration's attorney general, Ed Meese, "does not protect a right to an abortion." The folks charged with getting Alito confirmed as Sandra Day O'Connor's successor are insisting that the judge's declaration is not a smoking gun. Alito's subsequent record on the federal appellate bench, said Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, "shows he has indeed put his personal views on abortion aside." And in the Washington Times story that revealed the existence of the application, an unnamed Republican official insisted, "the issue is not Judge Alito's political views during the Reagan administration." The issue was the hundreds of opinions Alito had authored in the years since, in "none of which is it evident what his political philosophy is." Now, maybe I'm cockeyed here, but I don't read Alito's abortion assertion as either personal or political. A personal...

Arnold Terminates Himself

LOS ANGELES -- Arnold Schwarzenegger's nine mad months of governing Democratic California as a partisan Republican came to the most predictable of unhappy endings here on Tuesday. Each of the four ballot measures he inflicted on voters in his special election lost decisively -- his spending-limit proposal tanking by 24 percent, and his measure to curb the clout of public-sector unions (Proposition 75) by 7 percent. The mystery of this election is what on earth Schwarzenegger could have been thinking: No comparable elected official in recent memory has picked a fight so gratuitously and come out of it so beat up. Back in January Schwarzenegger's approval rating stood at 62 percent in the Public Policy Institute of California's poll. Then, in short order, he called for axing the pensions of the state's public employees, which would have eliminated the survivor benefits for widows and orphans of police officers and firefighters. He tried to stall the implementation of a law mandating a...

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