Paul Starr

Paul Starr is co-editor of the The American Prospect. His most recent book is Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Health Care ReformClick here to read more about Starr.

Recent Articles

The Liberal Project Now

Liberalism is at greater risk now than at any time in recent American history. The risk is of political marginality, even irrelevance. And the reason is not just a shift in partisan control of the federal government. There has been a radical change in the relationship of ideology and power in America. Only by renewing both the principled commitments to liberal ideals and the practical basis of liberal politics does liberalism have any chance of recovery.

Little Magazine, Big Ideas

The American Prospect began with a small circulation and great ambitions. Our aim was to rethink ideas about public policy and politics and thereby to restore plausibility and persuasiveness to American liberalism. The first issue appeared in spring 1990, a historical moment in some respects like today: Democrats had lost successive presidential elections, there was a George Bush in the White House, conservatives were pushing schemes for privatization, and liberals were in disarray.

The Price of a Free Society

These are times that try liberal spirits. On one side, the Bush administration has taken up the agenda of the Christian right and sought to use the power of the state to shape how Americans live and die. On the other, it is undermining many of the positive accomplishments of government, such as Social Security, labor and environmental regulation, consumer protections, and federal responsibilities for health care. Some of the challenges are overt, as in the privatization of Social Security. Others are less conspicuous, as in the quiet abandonment of regulatory enforcement. Conservatives love the Bush tax cuts because they have set us on a fiscal course that makes severe cutbacks in federal programs appear inexorable.

The Price of a Free Society

By Paul Starr

These are times that try liberal spirits. On one side, the Bush administration has taken up the agenda of the Christian right and sought to use the power of the state to shape how Americans live and die. On the other, it is undermining many of the positive accomplishments of government, such as Social Security, labor and environmental regulation, consumer protections, and federal responsibilities for health care. Some of the challenges are overt, as in the privatization of Social Security. Others are less conspicuous, as in the quiet abandonment of regulatory enforcement. Conservatives love the Bush tax cuts because they have set us on a fiscal course that makes severe cutbacks in federal programs appear inexorable.

Their Sun Also Rises

Famously, on the last day of the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, Benjamin Franklin pointed to an image of the sun painted on the back of George Washington's chair and said that he finally had “the happiness to know it is a rising and not a setting sun.” Ever since then, Americans have had the same happy thought: Our sun has always been rising.

And today, as we conceive things, that sun shines more brightly than ever. For in the governing narrative of our time, the United States is the world's only superpower, freedom is on the march, and the superiority of the American economic model has been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

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