Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Foreign Aid and the Budget.

How do Americans think the government spends their money? Via Ezra Klein , is one answer : To be fair, given the size of the Pentagon's budget -- $663 billion in 2010 , or 19 percent of budgeted expenditures -- and the extent to which we are still committed to a language of "freedom" in our foreign policy -- these wars are fought for your benefit, etc. -- there is definitely a sense in which the public is completely correct, and we do spend tremendous amounts on "foreign aid." -- Jamelle Bouie

Republican Diversity, Cont.

Rep.-elect Tim Scott of South Carolina, the state's first black Republican since Reconstruction, has opted not to join the Congressional Black Caucus: "While I recognize the efforts of the CBC and appreciate their invitation for me to caucus with them, I will not be joining them at this time," wrote Scott in an e-mailed statement. "My campaign has been about themes that unite all Americans--restoring the American dream by reducing the tax burden, decreasing government interference in the private sector, and restoring fiscal responsibility, and I don't think those ideals are advanced by focusing on one group of people. … The black community, like all communities, will benefit when businesses can use their profits to hire more workers instead of paying higher taxes; when companies decide to locate in America instead of overseas; and when our government no longer saddles our children's futures with ever-increasing debt." This isn't a surprise. Scott's district is 74.8 percent white and...

The Future of Campaign Finance?

If you haven't already, you should check out my column today on the Supreme Court's decision to hear arguments in McComish v. Bennett , a case which deals with Arizona's public-financing law. Here are the important parts: McComish deals with an aspect of Arizona's public-financing law that provides extra funds for candidates who opt into the system when their opponents opt out. Candidates are still bound by spending limits, but if their opponent goes beyond that limit, they are given the funds to match their opponent's spending. The plaintiff's case is pretty straightforward: This program limits the free speech of privately funded candidates and groups, because it forces them to cut back on their spending, lest they advantage their opponents with public money. If money is speech and groups have the right to speak freely, the argument goes, then it is unfair to have a campaign-finance system that works by limiting the other guy. As I write in the piece, there's good reason to think...

Paul Ryan Is Not a Serious Person, a Continuing Series.

And yet, this will do nothing to harm Paul Ryan 's credibility with the Beltway deficit hawks: Incoming Budget Committee chairman -- and fiscal commission member -- Paul Ryan (R-WI) will not be voting for the White House Fiscal Commission's report, he told reporters at a breakfast roundtable hosted by the Christian Science Monitor today. [...] Ryan was at pains to praise the commission's chairmen, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles , for their efforts, but ultimately criticized the plan dramatically -- in particular, he says, because it reinforces President Obama 's health care law. "It not only didn't address the elephant in the room -- health care -- it made it fatter," Ryan said. "This just makes the fiscal situation worse in my opinion, by not just keeping Obamacare but actually entrenching it more, and expanding it and accelerating it." Of course, that's nonsense. Health-care costs are the main driver of our long-term deficits, and the Affordable Care Act reduces those costs. Ryan...

Racism Taboos and Underground Bias.

Matt Yglesias on racism in Western Europe: My casual-ish impression is that in 2010 racism is generally a bigger problem in Western Europe than in the United States. We’re obviously far from perfect in this regard, but progressives can I think legitimately count substantial progress in fighting bias as a major achievement and the European experience as illustrating the fact that the challenge is a non-trivial one. A few thoughts. First, broadly speaking, I think this is right; Europeans do seem to be more comfortable with public expressions of bigotry and anti-Semitism, although anecdotally, I've heard that Europeans are more likely to see Americans as the "real racists," given our history of slavery and apartheid. Of course, it's that same history of slavery and apartheid that has fueled the fight against bias in the public sphere. Still, it would be a real stretch to call the United States an "anti-racist" society; systemic bias is a defining feature of American life, and individual...