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

Dean and the Duke

I've got this Howard Dean problem, and it's not that I think he's George McGovern. Actually, I think he's John Wayne. And not just any John Wayne, but the Duke in his greatest performances, in some of John Ford's later movies. I know -- it's bad enough to tell my fellow liberals that I still have reservations about Dean, but to say that John Wayne was capable of great performances immediately subjects all my judgment and, perhaps, eyesight, to pitiless scrutiny. Nevertheless. I have in mind the Wayne characters in "The Searchers" and "The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance." In these movies, Wayne plays historically transitional figures -- the ultimate tough guy who defeats the forces of darkness and disorder, in no small part by becoming, or just being, very like them himself, but for whom the forces of light then have no further use. In "The Searchers," he spends five years hunting down a Comanche tribe, and when he finds it, he scalps the chief. The conclusion of "The Searchers" sees...

Un-American Recovery

Why is the Bush recovery different from all other recoveries? A slump is a slump is a slump, but it's during recoveries that the distinctive features of a changing economy become apparent. And our current recovery differs so radically from every other bounce-back since World War II that you have to wonder whether we're really talking about the same country. After inching along imperceptibly for quarter after quarter, the economy is, by some measures, roaring back. The annual growth rate last quarter topped 8 percent, while productivity increased by more than 9 percent. To be sure, employment is still down by 2.4 million jobs since Bush took office, but it's finally begun to rise a bit. And there are some indices that make even the productivity increases pale by comparison. Corporations have been having a bang-up recovery all along, it turns out; they are about to experience their seventh straight quarter of profit growth. The operating earnings of the 500 companies on the Standard and...

Muted Joy

Of course, the United States is safer now that Saddam Hussein is behind bars. Not nearly as safer as we'd be if the Saudi regime were supplanted by a more liberal, less Osama bin Laden-enamored one; or if our government had more diligently implemented the Nunn-Lugar Act and acquired more Soviet warheads that may now be in the possession of God-knows-who; or if we'd paid more attention to North Korea two years ago; or if we'd dedicated more resources to port security here at home; or if John Ashcroft stepped down as attorney general. But safer nonetheless. The case for war in Iraq was never the safety of the United States, as the administration has acknowledged over the past several months by retroactively shifting its justification to building democracy in that unhappy land. Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction, no significant ties to al Qaeda and no army willing or able to wage conventional warfare against us. To be sure, the administration asserted the contrary on every possible...

Do Good and Dump W.

I. WHAT'S RIGHT WITH THIS PICTURE? LAS VEGAS -- In the middle of his life, Sylvester Garcia decided he'd had enough of the cold and the heat. He'd been a welder in the copper-mining towns of New Mexico for almost a quarter of a century, but, he says, "I got tired of welding, of the mud, of the rain, of too much hard work. So I told my wife, 'I'll try the casinos.'" In short order, he became a dishwasher at the Dunes Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, then moved to the Luxor when the Dunes was leveled to make way for the Bellagio. At first glance this wasn't a great career move. Dishwashing in America, as everybody knows, is almost always a minimum wage job devoid of benefits or security. Nonetheless, Garcia insists, "I love my job." And he's not kidding. Among his fellow dishwashers, however, he has to be in a distinct minority. According to "The Coffee Pot Wars," an essay by Annette Bernhardt, Laura Dresser and Eric Hatton in the new Russell Sage Foundation study of low-wage work, the...

Wal-Mart Nation

I. WHAT'S RIGHT WITH THIS PICTURE? LAS VEGAS -- In the middle of his life, Sylvester Garcia decided he'd had enough of the cold and the heat. He'd been a welder in the copper-mining towns of New Mexico for almost a quarter of a century, but, he says, "I got tired of welding, of the mud, of the rain, of too much hard work. So I told my wife, 'I'll try the casinos.'" In short order, he became a dishwasher at the Dunes Hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, then moved to the Luxor when the Dunes was leveled to make way for the Bellagio. At first glance this wasn't a great career move. Dishwashing in America, as everybody knows, is almost always a minimum wage job devoid of benefits or security. Nonetheless, Garcia insists, "I love my job." And he's not kidding. Among his fellow dishwashers, however, he has to be in a distinct minority. According to "The Coffee Pot Wars," an essay by Annette Bernhardt, Laura Dresser and Eric Hatton in the new Russell Sage Foundation study of low-wage work, the...

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