Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

These Are Cuts to Pay, Not Benefits.

David Cay Johnston is disappointed with reporting on Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker ’s attempt to end collective bargaining for public-sector employees. Why? Because reporters have conflated “benefits” with “pensions,” when they’re anything but. He explains: Out of every dollar that funds Wisconsin' s pension and health insurance plans for state workers, 100 cents comes from the state workers. How can that be? Because the "contributions" consist of money that employees chose to take as deferred wages – as pensions when they retire – rather than take immediately in cash. The same is true with the health care plan. If this were not so a serious crime would be taking place, the gift of public funds rather than payment for services. Thus, state workers are not being asked to simply "contribute more" to Wisconsin' s retirement system (or as the argument goes, "pay their fair share" of retirement costs as do employees in Wisconsin' s private sector who still have pensions and health insurance...

Gay Marriage: Not That Unpopular Anymore

It doesn't come as a surprise to learn that gay marriage isn't a particularly lucrative issue for Republicans anymore. The combination of growing tolerance -- 44 percent support gay marriage, up from 42 percent in 2004 and 37 percent in 2005 -- and a financial crisis have put the issue on the back burner, even for conservatives. As time moves on, and baby boomers die off, I expect "pro-same sex marriage" to become the majority opinion (see this fantastic Onion parody for a sense of what that will look like). Of course, among social issues, abortion is still very contentious, which makes this a completely baffling thing to say: At the same time, the rise of the Tea Party movement, and the success that Republicans had last year in attacking Democratic candidates on economic issues, has pushed the debate over abortion and gay rights to the back burner. This just isn't true. Next to spending cuts, the only other high-profile legislation we've seen from Republicans has been legislation to...

No Shocks, Just Power

In Wisconsin, Paul Krugman sees Naomi Klein 's "Shock Doctrine" at work: In recent weeks, Madison has been the scene of large demonstrations against the governor’s budget bill, which would deny collective-bargaining rights to public-sector workers. Gov. Scott Walker claims that he needs to pass his bill to deal with the state’s fiscal problems. But his attack on unions has nothing to do with the budget. In fact, those unions have already indicated their willingness to make substantial financial concessions — an offer the governor has rejected. What’s happening in Wisconsin is, instead, a power grab — an attempt to exploit the fiscal crisis to destroy the last major counterweight to the political power of corporations and the wealthy. And the power grab goes beyond union-busting. The bill in question is 144 pages long, and there are some extraordinary things hidden deep inside. Well, of course he is. As a rule, ambitious politicians use crises to pursue broader political goals. The...

One Year Ago in Judicial Nominations

On Twitter, the Constitutional Accountability Center notes that today is the one-year anniversary of Goodwin Liu 's nomination to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. From the original nomination: President Obama said, “ Goodwin Liu and Robert Chatigny have proven themselves to be not only first-rate legal minds but faithful public servants. It is with full confidence in their ability, integrity, and independence that I nominate them to the bench of the United States Court of Appeals.” Goodwin Liu is eminently qualified for the Ninth Circuit, which is why he hasn't been confirmed; conservatives have opposed his nomination for fear that he will eventually end up on the Supreme Court. Which isn't a problem; I don't expect conservatives to support a liberal nominee to the judiciary. But an up-or-down vote is a reasonable request, and for a year, Republicans have denied Liu a confirmation vote. Granted, apathetic Democrats deserve some blame for the situation -- President...

Politics Aren't the Problem

TechCrunch’s Sarah Lacy asks why America can’t “function like a fiscally responsible company” and reminds us of why tech writers should stay away from politics: That pseudo-company is the United States government and in a thorough report issued today, Kleiner Perkins partner Mary Meeker has taken all emotions, politics, spin and manipulation out of the issues, to present a steely-eyed view of just how hosed our financial situation is. Spoiler alert: It’s not pretty. America is gripped by a new red menace and this time, it’s not the commies– it’s a sea of red ink. If politicians reported to voters the way management reports to shareholders, no one would finish out their terms. This is followed by a torrent of banality, conventional wisdom, misrepresentations, and value judgments disguised as hard-nosed analysis. No, Social Security isn’t actually responsible for our long-term debt problems, and it can be “fixed” by a few tweaks on the margins. No, Medicare and Medicaid aren’t “unfunded...

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