Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Labor Days.

This is low-profile, but significant: Unions are increasingly looking to the National Labor Relations Board to seek favorable workplace rulings, and the agency is showing a willingness to reopen matters previously decided in favor of employers. [...] The NLRB can't overhaul labor law, but it can make rulings on a case-by-case basis and set broader policies through administrative rules that could give unions more leverage with employers. The Bush years were terrible for unions, and it's no small thing that the Obama administration -- with an excellent secretary of labor in Hilda Solis -- has enforced existing labor law, made it easier for workers to unionize, and promoted rules that bolster unions and provide more protection for labor. Unions are a vitally important institution in American liberalism, to say nothing of their importance to the middle class; not only has union decline harmed the interests of ordinary Americans, but it has limited the space for progressive governance and...

License Plates for Freedom.

I hope this happens, if only because the irony would be delicious (via Ben Smith ): The citizens of Virginia will soon be able to express their support for smaller government and protest the federal government’s intrusion into the affairs of private citizens. How? With license plates that make a statement! Protest the government with your government-issued license plate! A brilliant idea. Of course, it's worth noting that the Commonwealth will produce any kind of specialized license plate, provided there are a sufficient number of people willing to buy them afterward (I think the minimum threshold is 350). Still, this is hilarious, and perfectly illustrative of the schizophrenia that drives the Tea Party movement. -- Jamelle Bouie

The Priorities of Our Elites.

I liked my colleague Adam Serwer 's take on the deficit-reduction proposal from committee Co-Chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson : But as an expression of the values of political elites, this document is appalling. It recommends that veterans pay for their combat injuries, working people take a payroll tax hike and social security benefits get cut so the government can offer large reductions in taxes for corporations and people in the top income bracket. Conservatives will try to argue that it offers more generous social security benefits for the poor, but it raises the retirement age so, as Paul Krugman points out, those who would benefit are also less likely to live long enough to do so. There's a lot of preening babble about sacrifice from the austerity crowd, but what it comes down to is the idea that the deficit should be balanced at any cost as long as it doesn't involve rich people paying more money. This proposal has no legs, but that doesn't mean I can't be offended by it...

Obama Administration Gives Away Its Lunch Money.

Sam Stein and Howard Fineman report that the Obama administration is ready to cave on the Bush tax cuts: President Barack Obama's top adviser suggested to The Huffington Post late Wednesday that the administration is ready to accept an across-the-board, temporary continuation of steep Bush-era tax cuts, including those for the wealthiest taxpayers. That appears to be the only way, said David Axelrod , that middle-class taxpayers can keep their tax cuts, given the legislative and political realities facing Obama in the aftermath of last week's electoral defeat. "We have to deal with the world as we find it," Axelrod said during an unusually candid and reflective 90-minute interview in his office, steps away from the Oval Office. "The world of what it takes to get this done." Democrats have never been known for their strategic sense, but I'm honestly surprised at how poorly they've managed the fight over the Bush tax cuts. This should have been a very easy win; it doesn't take much to...

Moderates, Liberals, and Why Democrats Have No Spine.

Democrats really want compromise, says a new poll by USA Today and Gallup. Republicans? Not so much: Americans think it is generally more important for political leaders to compromise to get things done (47%) rather than sticking to their beliefs (27%), but Republicans and Democrats hold differing views on the matter. Republicans tilt more toward saying leaders should stick to their beliefs (41% to 32%), while Democrats more widely endorse compromise (by 59% to 18%). As Kos notes , this could explain the party's gutlessness on virtually everything: My half-baked theory is that partisans are responding to the rhetoric of their leaders. Republicans speak forcefully about defending their principles as they stand firm in the way of Democratic communism. Democrats speak forcefully about nothing, apologize constantly for being Democrats, and literally beg Republicans for bipartisan cover for their initiatives. If the Democratic leadership acted with confidence, their supporters might...