Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

Hamiltonian Democrats

It's come to this: The chief project to restate Democratic economics for our time was unveiled a couple of weeks ago, and it's named after the father of American conservatism, Alexander Hamilton. Necessarily, the authors of the Hamilton Project preface their declaration with an attempt, not altogether successful, to reclaim Hamilton from the right. The nation's first secretary of the Treasury, they note, "stood for sound fiscal policy, believed that broad-based opportunity for advancement would drive American economic growth, and recognized that 'prudent aids and encouragements on the part of government' are necessary to enhance and guide market forces." Which is true, as far as it goes. Hamilton believed in balanced budgets and in the government's taking an active role to build the infrastructure and fiscal climate that business and the nation need to succeed -- ideas as alien to the current administration as support for collective farms. But Hamilton also feared the common people,...

The Curse on Unions

Solidarity For Sale: How Corruption Destroyed the Labor Movement and Undermined America's Promise by Robert Fitch ( PublicAffairs, 560 pages, $28.50 ) Mobsters, Unions, and Feds: The Mafia and the American Labor Movement by James B. Jacobs ( New York University Press, 320 pages, $32.95 ) America's unions may be shrinking, but the literature on their decline could fill a small library. Explanations abound. There's globalization, and there's the shift from manufacturing (big plants, easy to organize) to services (smaller workplaces, harder to organize). There was the move of American businesses from the union-friendly Snow Belt to the union-bashing Sun Belt. There's the near total antipathy of American employers to unions, and the rise of the billion-dollar, union-avoidance consultant industry. There's the failure of American labor law to protect workers in the face of union-resistant employers. There's the inertia of American unions themselves, most of which forgot how to organize new...

Out of the Shadows

Adrian didn't know all of the 20 guys who were propping him up, but he had to trust them and had no reason not to. The first 16 had formed a circle not far from the speakers' platform at Monday's immense rally for immigrant legalization on the Mall, and four other young men clambered atop them. Then some of them hoisted Adrian until the four could lift him still one level higher, and somebody else handed up a large American flag, which Adrian, perched atop this human Mount Suribachi, waved back and forth as the crowd chanted " Sí, se puede! " and "USA!" A slight, bespectacled 18-year-old, Adrian began his journey to the Mall five years ago, when he came to the States with his mother and younger sister -- devoid of papers that could legalize his presence here. His English is excellent, though he had to leave his Baltimore high school this year (he now works pickup construction jobs) when his mother was no longer able to provide for the family. Back on solid ground, he smiled when I...

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...

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