Heather McGhee

Heather McGhee is the Vice President of Policy and Outreach at Demos

Recent Articles

Create a Million Public-Service Jobs

This piece is part of the Prospect' s series on progressives' strategy over the next 40 years. To read the introduction, click here . Lewis Powell wanted executives selling tires or aspirin to take on an additional job: selling capitalism itself. Today, the disparate strands of the progressive movement must learn the same lesson, advocating not just for people but for the very idea of the people . Ours is the world’s greatest experiment in democracy: to create one, mutually supporting community of interest out of ancestral strangers—geographically distant, multi-origin, multi-ethnic, multiracial. Our inability to do that has been the Achilles’ heel of liberalism. It’s why we are not yet the 99 percent. Americans will not rise to the liberal call that “we are all in it together”—and we never have—if we don’t believe that we are part of the same human family. This belief must be deep, at the level of our rhythmic response to music, of our emotional response to images. Unfortunately, it’...

It's Wrong to Think Big Money Lost Last Night

With the election over, pundits and other race watchers are attempting to write the final word on the most expensive, secret, and billionaire-friendly election in history. Many are starting to take the position that in the end, the $6 billion in spending didn’t matter much because swing states voters got so saturated with ads that they tuned out. If the balance of power doesn’t change, some are even saying, that tsunami of spending will have been for naught. These folks are missing the point. In the game of high-dollar financing of political campaigns, it’s not about the spending—it’s about the giving. No matter how a campaign spends the check written by a millionaire donor, that millionaire donor has purchased exactly what he or she wanted: influence. Today, November 7th, the real game begins—when those who purchased a full term of access to their favored candidate begin to exercise an undemocratic advantage over the millions of Americans who merely voted, to shape the laws and...

A Spending Cut by Any Other Name

Conservative Dems shouldn't be fooled: The "CAP" Act would mandate huge cuts to popular domestic programs -- even when there's a budget surplus.

Congress returns from a two-week recess today. But for legislators who spent the time championing the House Republicans' extreme agenda to slash federal spending, the break was more like detention. Town hall meetings across the country erupted into bedlam as members came face-to-face with the actual beneficiaries of public spending on health care, retirement, college, food supports, and more. In Orlando, Rep. Daniel Webster was shouted down by furious constituents. "Florida has had this policy for the last 12 years," said one town-hall attendee, referring to the state's low taxes and meager public benefits. "We don't have money to take care of the poor, and unemployment is at 11 percent!" Everyone in Washington wants big spending cuts, particularly as a concession for raising the debt limit. But few people outside Washington want spending on them to be cut. So what is a conservative Congress member to do? Enter the new Capitol Hill bipartisan policy darling, the innocuous-sounding "...

Wait, Can I Move to Loophole Land?

As I lament just how few deductions I can take to move that digital Turbo Tax counter up toward a fat green refund, I have to consider what it'd be like if, instead of corporations being people, people like me were corporations. Because then, as my colleague at Demos David Callahan writes today, I'd be sitting pretty in "Loophole Land" instead of toiling over here in "W-2 Ville". Click above to see infographic. David's article, part of the Demos' " Taxes Matter " week, includes an infographic that lays out the facts about who really pays for our government to function -- and debunks the conservative talking point that America's high corporate tax rate hurts our international competitiveness. David points out : Thanks to the laws of Loophole Land, the effective corporate tax rate is actually lower than in the U.S. than many other countries. A recent study by the World Bank showed that the U.S. effective tax rate was below that of many of our top competitors, including Germany, Canada,...

Maybe the Tea Party Should Only Protest on Private Golf Courses. . .

( Demos.org ) But then again, there’d be the EPA and the Clean Water Act to thank for the waterways; local officials to thank for the zoning; federal transportation dollars to thank for the roads driven to enter the course ... You get the point. My colleagues at Dēmos have a piece up today as part of a week-long series called "Taxes Matter." It includes an annotated Tea Party protest photo, and it calls out how hypocritical it is for anti-tax zealots to ignore what taxes bring us. Here's an excerpt from Dēmos Vice President Tamara Draut : We don’t have to love paying taxes, but we should at a minimum respect and acknowledge why we pay them. Yet without a single drop of irony, Tea Party members hold up their 'Zero Taxes' posters on street curbs maintained with local government funding, lit with publicly-funded street lights, in front of public traffic signs, near publicly-maintained roads to protest efforts to fund our public goods. (Heather McGhee is director of the Washington office...

Pages