Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

What About House Republicans?

After months of negotiations, a bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Six” has released its plan for long-term debt reduction. The proposal is in line with previous recommendations from the Simpson-Bowles Commission. It includes $500 billion in discretionary spending cuts, cuts to Medicare (which can include an increase in the eligibility age) and unspecified Social Security reform. It also contains revenue increases, broad-based tax reform, and discretionary spending caps with a trigger that will kick in by 2015 if deficit reduction isn’t on track. The plan assumes that the Bush tax cuts for higher-income earners will expire. On the whole, it saves $3.7 trillion, which is close to the $4 trillion the administration's “grand bargain” of two weeks ago would have saved. Given their reaction to Simpson-Bowles earlier this year, liberals won’t love the proposal, but it’s not the worst possible outcome. President Obama called the Gang of Six proposal “broadly consistent” with...

There's More to Poverty Than Just Money

As Washington fights about which benefits to cut for low-income families, the Heritage Foundation throws an assist by arguing – in typical conservative fashion – that poor people can’t be poor if they own consumer electronics and air conditioning: [I]f poverty means lacking nutritious food, adequate warm housing, and clothing for a family, relatively few of the more than 30 million people identified as being “in poverty” by the Census Bureau could be characterized as poor.[2] While material hardship definitely exists in the United States, it is restricted in scope and severity. The average poor person, as defined by the government, has a living standard far higher than the public imagines. […] In 2005, the typical household defined as poor by the government had a car and air conditioning. For entertainment, the household had two color televisions, cable or satellite TV, a DVD player, and a VCR. If there were children, especially boys, in the home, the family had a game system, such as...

Shorter Republican Party: "CFPB Delenda Est"

That former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray has a smaller public profile than Elizabeth Warren is irrelevant when Republicans have already pledged to oppose anyone nominated to head the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: Republicans made it clear on Sunday that they were no more likely to confirm Mr. Cordray than Ms. Warren. Forty-four Republican senators have signed a letter saying they would refuse to vote on any nominee to lead the bureau, demanding instead that the agency replace a single leader with a board of directors. “Until President Obama addresses our concerns by supporting a few reasonable structural changes, we will not confirm anyone to lead it,” Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the ranking Republican on the banking committee, said in a written statement on Sunday. The Times portrays this as a simple argument over the structure of the agency, but it’s more than that. It’s not so much the configuration of the CFPB that bothers Republicans as much as it is...

Thank You, Eric Cantor

Michael Shear reports for The New York Times that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has become the new Democratic boogeyman on the debt-ceiling negotiations. This makes sense:Cantor has been the loudest voice against revenue increases in a debt deal. His hard opposition to any new revenues was responsible for trashing both the negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden as well as the “grand bargain” proposed by President Obama . The Democratic leadership might be frustrated by the situation -- Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) denounced Cantor from the floor of the Senate yesterday -- but liberals should thank the majority leader. If not for his intransigence, the White House and congressional Republicans would have agreed to a conservative debt deal with cuts to Medicare, Social Security and other integral parts of the safety net. As it stands, we’ll either get a “clean” debt ceiling increase – the Mitch McConnell plan, which includes neither spending cuts or long-term debt...

Is Obama Playing Politics or Does He Really Believe in Austerity?

For the second time in three weeks, President Obama 's has given a press conference on the troubled debt-ceiling negotiations. This time, he stated his opposition to a short-term extension of the debt ceiling and called on Republicans to put aside partisanship, and agree to a long-term compromise on spending and revenues. There are two ways of reading Obama's rhetoric press this morning. The first is as an elaborate game of political theater – Obama is using deficit reduction to position himself as the sensible alternative to a destructively ideological Republican Party. Under this view, deficit reduction isn’t a core priority, and the administration’s proposed $4 trillion “grand bargain” was a stunt; the White House knew that congressional Republicans would never accept $1 trillion in new revenue, even if it came with entitlement cuts, but offered the deal because it bolstered Obama’s “reasonable” persona. You can see this in his comments this morning; when asked if lawmakers could...

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