Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

Our Pious Babylon

Let us not think that Tom DeLay's decision not to seek reelection was prompted by merely temporal concerns. The Rev. Rick Scarborough, DeLay's sometime pastor, told the New York Times that The Hammer confided in him last Saturday that "God wanted him to get out of that race." DeLay's apparently is the most obliging of Lords. He stuck with the embattled incumbent long enough for DeLay to give a "Texas whuppin'" to those infidels who ran against him in the Republican primary, only to counsel withdrawal when the polling made clear that a Democrat could still beat The Hammer in the fall. The broader question is whether such a deity still rules in Washington. As gods go, He was surely more ethically flexible than most. Lesser gods might frown upon bribery, fraud, greed and the abrogation of the democratic process, but this one was willing to overlook such trifles if they strengthened the Republicans' hold on the House and were performed in a spirit of piety. The latest in the litany of...

A Not-So-Silent Minority

Every so often, for good or ill, Los Angeles astonishes itself. Twice in the past half-century, the city that most embodied the post-World War II American dream was wracked by massive racial rioting that shook the city to its core. Twice in the past half-century, L.A. also became the first American mega-city to elevate racial-minority politicians to its top office -- electing as its mayor the African-American Tom Bradley in 1973 and the Latino Antonio Villaraigosa in 2005, in both instances, with heavy white support. This past Saturday, Los Angeles stunned itself yet again, as more than half-a-million largely Latino, preponderantly immigrant demonstrators jammed the streets of downtown to protest the draconian and xenophobic immigration bill that House Republicans passed late last year. Commentators have noted that this was the city's largest demonstration in recent decades, which is a little like characterizing a storm that drops five feet of snow in the Hollywood Bowl as unusually...

Will Your Job Survive?

In case you've been worrying about how the war in Iraq will end, or the coming of avian flu, or the extinction of the universe as we drift into the cosmic void, well, relax. Here's something you should really fret about: the future of the U.S. economy in the age of globalization. For a discussion of same, let me call your attention to an article in the March-April issue of Foreign Affairs by Princeton University economist Alan Blinder. The vice chairman of the Federal Reserve's board of governors from 1994 to 1996, Blinder is the most mainstream of economists, which makes his squawk of alarm all the more jarring. But the man has crunched the numbers, and what he's found is sure to induce queasiness. In the new global order, Blinder writes, not just manufacturing jobs but a large number of service jobs will be performed in cheaper climes. Indeed, only hands-on or face-to-face services look safe. "Janitors and crane operators are probably immune to foreign competition," Blinder writes...

Not Your Father's Detroit

In the mid-1950s, the Ford Motor Company decided that its most profitable car needed a new home. Up until then, Ford had been making Lincoln Continentals in Highland Park, the industrial enclave near the center of Detroit, where the company had first put down its roots. In 1957, though, it moved its Lincoln production line to its shiny new plant in Wixom, a rural community soon to become suburban, located about a half-hour's drive from Detroit. In short order, Wixom was not only turning out all of Ford's Lincoln models, but also that most classic of 1950s cars, the Thunderbird. Modern American manufacturing -- in some sense, modern America -- had begun in Highland Park. In 1913, Henry Ford opened his first real factory there, featuring the world's first large-scale assembly line. The following year, he announced that he'd pay his employees an unheard-of $5 a day, based on the theory that if they made Model-T's, they should be able to buy them. In fact, the purchasing power of Ford...

A Hard Bill to Swallow

Last week, even as Congress with great fanfare was protecting the American people against whatever mischief the harbor barons of Dubai were contemplating, it quietly decided to strip some long-standing protections from the same American people at the behest of our very own food industry. Last Wednesday the House passed the National Uniformity for Food Act, which might better be named the Swallow at Your Own Risk Act. In one swoop, the bill preempts roughly 200 state laws governing food safety. The theory here is that we lack uniform national standards in such areas as lead and arsenic content, milk and shellfish safety, and the stuff that goes into food coloring and additives. National standards, the bill's champions argue, would be good for the whole country. Funny thing, though. The bill doesn't set any national standards. It doesn't require that the Food and Drug Administration set such standards. It merely reserves to the FDA the right to set such standards, and negates a slew of...

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