Ed Schwartz

Recent Articles

Budget Bust

President Bush announced yesterday that his administration is ahead of schedule in reducing the federal deficit. Great news -- but it would be useful to ask who is paying the price. Unfortunately, one odd feature of this years' congressional campaigns has been the failure of the Democratic Party to ask that question forcefully, and focus public attention on a most interesting document: the 2006 federal budget. That Republican candidates don't really want to talk about the budget is understandable. It's hard to imagine swing voters anywhere rallying to their side if they fully understood the wide range of programs supporting America's families and communities that have been cut. And indeed, not a single Democrat in the House or the Senate voted for the 2006 budget. Whatever their differences on Iraq, they were completely united on this one. Unfortunately, they seem equally united in downplaying any of this in their campaigns -- an unfortunate reflection of a common Democratic failure...

Reviving Community Development

Critics have called for abandoning the struggle for community development just as some of the most promising initiatives are being launched.

D espite the array of programs developed since the 1960s to help the inner city, federal policy has largely failed to devise a strategy that both helps poor people and poor places. Urban renewal in the 1950s "revived" slum neighborhoods with bulldozers, transforming them into upscale apartment complexes. Likewise in the 1980s, shopping centers like Boston's Quincy Market and the Gallery in Philadelphia may have created a downtown retail renaissance -- but not an economic revival of poor neighborhoods for the people who live in them. Not surprisingly, one response to this failure has been to abandon the idea of rehabilitating inner cities. In a New York Times Magazine cover story, "The Myth of Community Development," published last January, Nicholas Lemann, author of The Promised Land, suggested that rather than attempting yet again to uplift ghetto neighborhoods, risking another cycle of failure and public cynicism, government should concentrate on improving the standard of living of...