Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is the editor-at-large at The American Prospect and a columnist for The Washington Post. His email is hmeyerson@prospect.org

Recent Articles

Unified Populism

Ever since Ronald Reagan became president, the Democrats have had a challenge: They've needed to reinvent populism. Under Reagan, and now far more so under George W. Bush, the official policy of the U.S. government has been to throw money at the rich. When Reagan ruled, this policy was justified by the doctrine of trickle-down economics: The rich would invest their tax cuts in job-creating American enterprises. The theory sounded a lot better than the actual process worked, but at least there was a theory. Under the latter Bush, there's not even that. When the rich invest today, their money flows to enterprises that span the globe. Trickle-down economics is gone; what we have today is trickle-out economics. That's only one reason why a rising tide no longer lifts all boats. Throw in the decline of unions and what you get -- and what we have today -- is not a jobless recovery but a raise-less one. With wages stagnating, health care costs rising and college tuition soaring, this should...

Tearing Down the Walls

Ted Kennedy and Howard Dean may have fizzled, and Teresa Heinz Kerry cooed cerebrally, but the star of Tuesday night and the Democratic future was clearly Barack Obama. Listening to the speech from the press risers, I was reminded of the keynote address at the 1984 Democratic convention. Like Obama today, Mario Cuomo was the rising star of the moment; and also like Obama, Cuomo was (and most certainly viewed himself as) a breakthrough candidate for an ethnic group -- in his case, obviously, Italian-Americans. No multi-culti stuff for Mario and Barack, however; each depicted their moment as an expansion of a diverse but indivisible American democracy. Indeed, indivisibility was a key theme of the two keynotes, 20 years apart. Cuomo, speaking near the end of Ronald Reagan's first term, reminded the nation of its obligation to the poor -- chiefly the inner-city poor, who were the most glaring casualties of Reaganomics. Obama, speaking near the end of Bush's -- let us hope, only -- term,...

Jimmy Endorsey

For the past several years, one of the ongoing mysteries of a not overly mysterious labor movement is what the Carpenters Union will do in any given election season. Since the maverick Doug McCarron became Carpenters president in 1995, the union has left the AFL-CIO, linked itself to such organizing-intensive and progressive unions as the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and the Union of Needletrades, Industrial and Textile Employees (UNITE) in the New Unity Partnership, and, since 2001, hosted Labor Day picnics at which the guest of honor was George W. Bush. That may prove a trickier position this year, given Bush's opposition to virtually all things labor. Still, Bush's Labor Department has sided with the Carpenters' leadership over a number of locals complaining about the absence of internal democracy, so it's not as if McCarron has been left totally empty-handed. A Bush endorsement, certainly, would cause a far bigger revolt among the union's members (and secondary...

Easy Labor

Longtime union officials and staffers were exuding an almost gleeful incredulity this weekend on the eve of the convention. Not about the November election itself; on the question of the ultimate outcome, experienced political hands remain cautious. United Auto Workers Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Bunn fretted that “Michigan is closer than it should be” due to the social conservatism that prevails throughout much of the state. One union official worried that the largest numbers of dedicated activists tended to reside in such decidedly non-battleground states as California and New York, and couldn't easily be deployed to swing states. (The Service Employees International Union, or SEIU, however, is doing just that, paying for 2,000 of its activists to go on leave in September and October and move, if need be, to swing states to staff the voter-mobilization programs of America Coming Together and other “527s.” This subsidized mass migration will cost the SEIU roughly $30 million --...

Retreating from Reform

Marie Gonzalez sounds a bit like your classic Valley girl, punctuating her sentences with the obligatory "for sures" and "you knows." And, for sure, the 18-year-old, who graduated this spring from Helias High School in Jefferson City, Mo., seems in every way your normal American young woman -- on the tennis and track teams in high school, very involved with her parish, looking forward to college this fall. Well, conditionally looking forward to college. For Marie, who seems to have stepped out of a 21st-century update of a Norman Rockwell tableau, has a problem: The government wants to deport her to Costa Rica. And Marie, whose parents brought her to the States when she was 5, faces the abrupt prospect of losing everything she has in all good faith worked for. She can be forgiven for having thought she was leading a normal life. Her father, after all, worked as a courier in the office of the governor of Missouri. Her mother was a grade-school Spanish teacher. Her parents' initial...

Pages