Paul Starr

Paul Starr is co-founder and co-editor of the The American Prospect. and professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and the Bancroft Prize in American history, he is the author of seven books, including most recently Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Heath Care Reform (Yale University Press, revised ed. 2013). Click here to read more about Starr.

Recent Articles

Security Flaws

Republican plans to privatize social security raise two different security questions. One is the impact on the retirement security of workers if they become dependent on the stock market for their basic livelihood in old age. The other concerns the nation's security if, as news reports indicate, the Republicans decide that rather than raise taxes, the government will borrow the money to finance the shift to private accounts. The Congressional Budget Office already projects a federal deficit of $2.3 trillion over the next 10 years. Making the Bush tax cuts permanent, as the president urges, would add another $1.9 trillion. But the total of $4.2 trillion is a low estimate because it allows for no adjustment for population growth and inflation in discretionary programs, not to mention future costs in Iraq or other wars. Borrowing the funds for Social Security privatization would raise deficits by $2 trillion more. From whom will we borrow the money? These days about three-fifths of the...

Morals of the Election

What has the past half-century of our history achieved if not a moral transformation? Equal rights and respect for black people have been a moral cause. So, too, have equality for women and open acceptance of gays. Liberals have advocated each of these causes, often turning to the courts when elected leaders were slow to respond. Insofar as politicians have welcomed and supported these movements, they have chiefly been Democrats. And the Democratic Party has paid for its principles from one decade to the next, losing support in the South, among men, and among those with more traditional beliefs. By the 1990s, though Democrats still had a rough parity with Republicans, they were no longer a majority party. The 2000 election proved the tipping point, and 2004 has finished the process, reducing the Democrats to a minority position. As the Democrats' Senate losses confirm, the political realignment of the South is now a done deal. In the presidential vote, a substantial Republican...

Morals of the Election

What has the past half-century of our history achieved if not a moral transformation? Equal rights and respect for black people have been a moral cause. So, too, have equality for women and open acceptance of gays. Liberals have advocated each of these causes, often turning to the courts when elected leaders were slow to respond. Insofar as politicians have welcomed and supported these movements, they have chiefly been Democrats. And the Democratic Party has paid for its principles from one decade to the next, losing support in the South, among men, and among those with more traditional beliefs. By the 1990s, though Democrats still had a rough parity with Republicans, they were no longer a majority party. The 2000 election proved the tipping point, and 2004 has finished the process, reducing the Democrats to a minority position. As the Democrats' Senate losses confirm, the political realignment of the South is now a done deal. In the presidential vote, a substantial Republican...

A World Apart

George W. Bush and John Kerry could agree on one point in the first presidential debate: Nuclear proliferation -- specially the risk of terrorists obtaining nuclear weapons -- represents the most serious threat we face. But the difference in how the two candidates approach the problem illustrates a more fundamental political divide that will stretch beyond this election. That split is about the means of making American power effective as well as the grounds for using it. As Bush sees it, the United States can best protect itself through two means: the forward projection of American military power and a confident assertion of American ideals of democracy and capitalism. If allies come along with us when we intervene, they come; if not, not. We cannot allow other countries to deter us from fully using our power. As Kerry sees it, the United States can best protect itself when it leads the world community. No other country has a veto on American policy, which needs to be focused on...

A World Apart

George W. Bush and John Kerry could agree on one point in the first presidential debate: Nuclear proliferation -- specially the risk of terrorists obtaining nuclear weapons -- represents the most serious threat we face. But the difference in how the two candidates approach the problem illustrates a more fundamental political divide that will stretch beyond this election. That split is about the means of making American power effective as well as the grounds for using it. As Bush sees it, the United States can best protect itself through two means: the forward projection of American military power and a confident assertion of American ideals of democracy and capitalism. If allies come along with us when we intervene, they come; if not, not. We cannot allow other countries to deter us from fully using our power. As Kerry sees it, the United States can best protect itself when it leads the world community. No other country has a veto on American policy, which needs to be focused on...

Pages