Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Never Trust an Average.

Writing in The Wall Street Journal , Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty makes use of broad averages to argue against public-sector unions: Federal employees receive an average of $123,049 annually in pay and benefits, twice the average of the private sector. And across the country, at every level of government, the pattern is the same: Unionized public employees are making more money, receiving more generous benefits, and enjoying greater job security than the working families forced to pay for it with ever-higher taxes, deficits and debt. Of course, that "average" is incredibly misleading; after you control for everything -- education, gender, race, compensation, and total work hours -- government employees are paid significantly less than their private-sector counterparts. And this holds true at every level of skill and expertise; public-sector doctorates, for instance, suffer a 21 percent pay penalty when compared to their peers in the private sector. If the public/private pay disparity...

Nope, No Disenfranchisement to See Here.

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wants an exemption from the Voting Rights Act. Why? Because the Commonwealth has " outgrown " institutional racism: Cuccinelli also addressed the issue of redistricting, saying he thought it was time for Virginia to be released from its federally mandated oversight by the U.S. Department of Justice under the Voting Rights Act of 1965. [...] Cuccinelli, however, said Virginia has “outgrown” that requirement, as the state — which he acknowledged originated Massive Resistance — is no longer marked by institutionalized bigotry. “I think as a state, as a commonwealth, we have outgrown that,” he said. “We have grown as a commonwealth a great deal in my lifetime.” Earlier this year, if you recall, Republican Gov. McDonnell reinstated "Confederate History Month," failing to make any reference to slavery (he later apologized). This was followed by Sen. Jim Webb 's op-ed against federal anti-discrimination policies, and McDonnell's decision to institute...

Money Ain't a Thing.

Do you need personal wealth to run for office? No, says the Campaign Finance Institute: Personal wealth seems not to be a requirement for office. Glavin said that for all spending on U.S. House campaigns in 2008, only 10 percent came from candidates’ personal wealth. Fifty-four percent came from individual contributions and 36 percent came from Political Action Committees, a name given to groups that organize to support a particular candidate or issue. For incumbents in 2008, the amount spent from personal wealth drops to just 5 percent, while the amount from PACs grows to 45 percent, as incumbents are able to tout their voting record on certain issues to garner support.There is, however, a baseline amount of money needed to run a campaign. “If you’re not crossing a threshold then your chances aren’t very good,” Glavin said, but added that it’s difficult to pinpoint just how much money a candidate needs to run a competitive race. Success leads to more campaign donations which are used...

What If We Give It Away?

Matthew Yglesias on what rich people should do with their money, if they want to help the poor: Alternatively, one under-discussed possibility is for a guy who has a lot of money and a desire to help poor people to just identify some poor people and give them some money. It sounds banal when you say it, but one of the main obstacles to people being less poor is that they don’t have enough money. If you give them money, they’ll have more of it. Will this be optimal in all cases? Of course not. But in the vast majority of cases, you’ll do some good. It’s tempting to believe that you’re on the merge of some major conceptual breakthrough in the field of philanthropy. But give some consideration to the possibility that you’re not. Perhaps if you have a special talent for anything, it’s a talent for making money. It’s not very hard to identify some people who might need money more than you do. Maybe you should just give them some, and then go back to making money. Relatedly, if I were...

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