Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Partisan Deficit Reduction.

Chris Beam thinks we might be better off with a partisan effort to reduce the deficit: Any serious effort to do Something Important—eliminating the debt, for example—is more likely to succeed by exploiting partisanship than by trying to overcome it....Say Democrats take back the House in 2012, and Obama wins a second term. With majorities once again in Congress, Obama could tackle the deficit with a Democratic set of solutions: chop military spending, impose a gas tax, raise taxes on the rich. Or say Republicans take the presidency in two years, along with the Senate. They could implement all the policies liberals hate, like slashing domestic spending, raising the retirement age, and flattening the tax code. Kevin Drum notes that the filibuster is a pretty big obstacle to this, which is true, but it's worth noting (again) that the last two major deficit-reduction packages have been partisan affairs. The Omnibus Budget Act of 1993 and the Affordable Care Act were passed over unanimous...

The CBC's Newest Member?

The Hill reports that Rep.-elect Allen West (R-Fla.) is planning to join the Congressional Black Caucus: “There are two criteria to be a member of the Congressional Black Caucus — you must be black and you must be a member of Congress, and when I woke up this morning, I think I met both of those criteria,” West told The Hill on Tuesday. “So I will be joining.” West is a genuinely troubling guy, but I'm not opposed to his application for the CBC; in my view, any black congressperson or anyone representing a significant number of African American voters should be allowed into the caucus. That said, it's worth noting how few black people West actually represents; at 3.8 percent, Florida's 22nd district ranks 125 on a list of districts with the smallest African American populations. Put another way, 315 other districts have more black people than the one West represents. Two things: for a black Republican like West, his symbolic value -- "our party is diverse too!" -- is more important...

Say Hello to the New Permanent Underclass.

Black people continue to bear the brunt of this recession: Twenty-five percent of African-American households suffered from food insecurity in 2009—compared to 11 percent of white households—according to the most recent data on hunger released today by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Food insecure households are those that struggle to put food on the table at some point in the year. Nationally, one in seven—or 14.7 percent—of U.S. households experienced food insecurity in 2009. Even more astounding is the extent to which child poverty is pervasive among African Americans. According to this new report research done last year, "Ninety percent of African-American children will receive SNAP benefits at some point before age 20, compared to 49 percent of all U.S. children. More than a third of black children live below the poverty line, and overall , 62 percent of black children live in low-income families (both poor and near-poor). " It's not hard to see why this is the case;...

Sabotage!

A few days ago, Matthew Yglesias floated the possibility that Republicans are trying to sabotage economic growth for political gain: So I know that tangible improvements in the economy are key to Obama ’s re-election chances. And Douglas Hibbs knows that it’s key. And senior administration officials know that its key. So is it so unreasonable to think that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner may also know that it’s key? That rank and file Republicans know that it’s key? McConnell has clarified that his key goal in the Senate is to cause Barack Obama to lose in 2012 which if McConnell understands the situation correctly means doing everything in his power to reduce economic growth. Boehner has distanced himself from this theory, but many members of his caucus may agree with McConnell. On that note, Neil Irwin reports that two influential Republicans have come out against the Federal Reserve's dual mandate: The proposal by Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.) and Rep. Mike Pence (Ind.) would end the...

Shine Blockas.

As Greg Sargent reports , there is still a chance for Democrats to do the smart thing and hold a separate vote on tax cuts for the middle class: This is encouraging: One of the most powerful labor leaders in the country just said that he's in direct talks with the White House and Dem leaders about throwing down the gauntlet and holding a vote just on extending the middle class tax cuts -- and that all parties involved are seriously considering it. Like I've said before , nothing could be better for Democrats than for Republicans to vote against extending tax cuts for the middle class, while pushing those same tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans. If you're looking for a quick way to steal the shine from the incoming GOP majority, this is an easy way to do it. Of course, Republicans are aware of this and are trying everything they can to keep this from coming to pass : The incoming Republican chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee said the GOP will block any proposal that...

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