Karen Paget

Karen M. Paget, a frequent foundation consultant, is currently a Soros Open Society Institute fellow. She has consulted on state and local fiscal issues for the Ford Foundation and the Twentieth Century Fund. She is the author of "The Battle for the States," in The New Majority.

Recent Articles

Can't Touch This?: The Pentagon's Budget Fortress

Defense experts with impeccable conservative credentials say we could cut the Pentagon budget without endangering our security. So why is no one listening?

Nearly six years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, all talk of a peace
has evaporated. The very phrase seems quaint, an echo from another era. Whole
domestic agencies, meanwhile, are targeted for extinction. Welfare and every
other form of safety net--home heating subsidies, housing and homeless
programs, food and nutrition programs--are under the budget knife. Medicare,
long considered too politically risky to cut, has lost its immunity. Only the
military budget remains secure from cuts, not only off the table, but slated
for increases by both the Clinton administration and congressional

The Big Chill

Starting a new organization? You will very likely apply for a tax exemption from the IRS in order to attract foundation grants and gifts from individual donors. This decision, of course, has fateful consequences, especially for organizations devoted to social or political change. Accepting foundation funding means that you will have to limit your tactics and serve the foundation's goals as well as your own—and the foundation may also be looking over its shoulder at the IRS and Congress.

The Roots of Rage

Blowback: The Cost and Consequences of the American Empire, by Chalmers Johnson. Metropolitan Books, Henry Holt and Company, 288 pages, $15.00 (paper).

Americans around the world are targets of terrorist attacks. Not just soldiers such as those killed on the USS Cole in Yemen this fall, but civilians, as well. Last year the State Department issued an unprecedented general warning for Americans abroad--anyone, anywhere--to be alert to the threat of anti-American violence. Yet citizens and commentators alike seemed to take the advisory in stride. No one asked, at the end of "the American Century," why we might be in such danger.

Diversity at Berkeley: Demagoguery or Demography?

The director of a large California foundation once told me that his work had become easier now that his board members understood cultural diversity "as a demographic fact and not a liberal plot." His optimism was premature. In the past year a full-blown conservative reaction, exemplified by Dinesh D'Souza's Illiberal Education, has depicted the new claims of ethnic pluralism precisely as a liberal or radical plot. In its most mechanical form, the conservative argument pictures elite colleges as admitting unqualified students through affirmative action. These students, once there, lower standards, frustrate faculty, and develop an ideology of cultural separatism to justify their own incompetence.