Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

The Simple Explanation for Republican Refusal to Read the 3/5's Compromise.

Over at Greg Sargent 's blog, Adam Serwer has a great post on the GOP's "Huck Finn-ing" of the Constitution: Earlier this week, there was an uproar over a publisher's plans to release an edition of Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn that would replace the N-word with the word "slave" in order to make the book more "appropriate" for schoolchildren. This kind of political correctness offers no justice to the descendants of slaves -- it merely papers over a terrible ugliness that is an essential part of American history. Republicans, intending to make a big symbolic show of their reading of the Constitution, have now taken a similarly sanitized approach to our founding document. Yesterday they announced that they will be leaving out the superceded text in their reading of the Constitution on the House floor this morning, avoiding the awkwardness of having to read aloud the "three fifths compromise," which counted slaves as only three-fifths of a person for the purposes of...

Government Efforts Prevented Poverty From Rising in 2009.

The government's "wasteful" spending after the financial collapse kept millions from falling into poverty, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: Although the Recovery Act was designed chiefly to bolster a collapsing economy, it generated the important side effect of protecting millions of families against poverty and massive income losses. Center analysis of the new Census data shows that the Recovery Act kept more than 4.5 million people out of poverty in 2009: 1.3 million people through extensions and expansions of federal unemployment benefits, 1.5 million people through improvements in the Child Tax Credit and Earned Income Tax Credit, nearly 1 million people through the Making Work Pay tax credit, and another 700,000 people through an increase in benefit levels for the SNAP program (previously called food stamps). Here it is in graph form: Poverty is still very high -- reflecting the depth of the recession, and slow pace of the recovery -- but absent federal...

Fiscal Conservatives They Are Not.

Upon gaining control of the House of Representatives, Republicans immediately moved to make deficit spending easier : The rules rewrite, which sailed through the House on a strict party-line vote, will also make it easier to increase the national debt by exempting trillions of dollars in GOP priorities from pay-as-you-go rules put in place by Democrats. For example, House Republicans could extend Bush administration tax cuts for the wealthy past their 2012 expiration or create a significant new tax break for businesses without regard for the holes those policies would blow in the nation's finances. [...] "It's often been said that we don't have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem," Rep. David Dreier (R-Calif.), the new chairman of the Rules Committee, said during debate on the House floor. "These new rules will make it easier to reduce spending rather than increase it." Of course, Republicans have no real answer for how reducing revenues will decrease spending and thus...

More on Judicial Confirmations.

As an addendum to the earlier post on nominations, here is a nifty graph from The Monkey Cage on the declining confirmation rate for judicial nominations: Sarah Blinder offers an explanation: Who is to blame for the frequent impasse over judges? Today, Republicans argue that too many of Obama's nominees are unfit ideologically for the bench; Democrats argue that Republicans are exploiting the rules for political gain. Given the patterns here, however, the chief justice is clearly correct: No party is innocent in the struggle to shape the ideoogical makeup of the bench. Agreed. -- Jamelle Bouie

Not So Different From the Old Rich.

If you're looking for some midday feature reading, you can't do much better than Chrystia Freeland 's piece on the "new global elite" in The Atlantic . The whole thing is very good, though I have a small quibble with this passage: What is more relevant to our times, though, is that the rich of today are also different from the rich of yesterday. Our light-speed, globally connected economy has led to the rise of a new super-elite that consists, to a notable degree, of first- and second-generation wealth. Its members are hardworking, highly educated, jet-setting meritocrats who feel they are the deserving winners of a tough, worldwide economic competition -- and many of them, as a result, have an ambivalent attitude toward those of us who didn’t succeed so spectacularly . If "ambivalent" is code for disdain -- passive or otherwise -- then these nouveau riche aren't so different from their predecessors; with few historical exceptions, the rich have always been ambivalent about the poor...