Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

What Does Luck Have to Do With It?

Jonathan Chait addresses a pet peeve of mine: conservative writers who insist on minimizing the out-sized effect of luck on life outcomes: [O]f course, Gates (as he has acknowledged) benefited enormously not just from his family situation but from the timing of his birth, which put him in the work force at a moment when computing technology was set to explode. If he had been born a decade or two earlier, he probably would have been an anonymous lab geek if he had followed his mathematical inclinations, or perhaps the owner of a successful grocery store chain if he had pursued his entrepreneurial instincts. The point of Chait's post is to rebut the notion that the progressive income tax is somehow unfair by debunking the self-flattering idea -- common to wealthy right-wingers -- that the distribution of income accurately reflects the distribution of talent and motivation. I recommend reading the whole thing, since it's good. That said, I think liberals would be well served by making...

Whatever Happened to Compassionate Conservatism?

Jonathan Cohn notes the final end of compassionate conservatism: House Republicans want to cut funding for health programs abroad and for community clinics here at home. And although the projected savings are small, at least relative to the size of the federal budget, the philosophical shift they signal is big. This is the end of compassionate conservatism. You remember compassionate conservatism, don't you? It was George W. Bush ’s slogan, going back to the late 1990s, when, as a candidate, he told audiences that “Prosperity without purpose is just materialism” and vowed to “rally the armies of compassion in our communities to fight a very different war against poverty.” As Cohn points out, there was good reason to be cynical about compassionate conservatism, given the main focus of Bush's domestic policy: tax cuts for wealthy interests. Still, with the expansion of community clinics and large-scale HIV/AIDS relief programs, there was at least a little substance to the slogan. By...

The Poor Are Easy Targets

Tomorrow, Rep. Paul Ryan will unveil the Republican budget proposal for 2012, which he typically bills as a plan for tackling the country's long-term fiscal problems. For instance, here he is in yesterday's New York Times : “We want to get spending and debt under control, and we want to get the economy growing, and we want to address the big drivers of our debt, and that is the entitlement programs,” Mr. Ryan, chairman of the Budget Committee, said in an interview. “We have a moral obligation to the country to do this.” Of course, the "entitlement" problem is really a health-care problem, and any budget plan that fails to meaningfully address health-care costs -- specifically Medicare, the largest program in the federal budget -- is a budget plan that doesn't mean much for the nation's long-term fiscal health. With that said, what exactly is Rep. Ryan proposing? The Times explains: It will call for deep spending cuts again in 2012, chart a path to reducing the deficit and slowing the...

The Segregated Workplace

Some workplaces are far more racially diverse than they were decades ago, but striking disparities still exist.

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Given the proliferation of corporate publications and websites that feature smiling minorities, one might think that the days of stark workplace segregation are long gone. And while, yes, the American economy is no longer formally segregated, the data clearly show a workforce where minorities remain greatly underrepresented at management and leadership levels and overrepresented in low-wage work. A 2007 study conducted by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, a government agency responsible for enforcing anti-discrimination law, found that only 20 percent of minorities are midlevel managers, despite the fact that they account for 34 percent of the total workforce. Moreover, only 24 percent are white-collar professionals and 17 percent are executive or senior-level officials. At the highest levels of corporate governance, these numbers are even smaller. A survey released last year by the Senate Democratic Hispanic Task Force found that just 14.5 percent of directors on corporate...

The Great Man Fallacy in Politics

Time 's Joe Klein feels embarrassed for the country whenever he sees the current crop of Republican presidential candidates: I have never before seen such a bunch of vile, desperate-to-please, shameless, embarrassing losers coagulated under a single party's banner. They are the most compelling argument I've seen against American exceptionalism. Even Tim Pawlenty , a decent governor, can't let a day go by without some bilious nonsense escaping his lizard brain. And, as Greg Sargent makes clear, Mitt Romney has wandered a long way from courage. There are those who say, cynically, if this is the dim-witted freak show the Republicans want to present in 2012, so be it. I disagree. One of them could get elected. You never know. Mike Huckabee , the front-runner if you can believe it, might have to negotiate a trade agreement, or a defense treaty, with the Indonesian President some day. Newt might have to discuss very delicate matters of national security with the President of Pakistan. And...

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