Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles


Why Standard & Poor's gave U.S. debt a lower rating.

(AP Photo/Jin Lee) New York Stock Exchange
Last night, Standard & Poor's, one of three agencies that rate the debt of governments and companies, announced that it would reduce the United States' credit rating to AA+, one notch below the top rating of AAA. Moody's and Fitch have no plan to follow suit, but even if they don't, this will be the first time in history that the U.S. credit rating has been downgraded. The Washington Post blames spending for the downgrade, but this has nothing to do with the government's policies or its ability to pay. Our debt is measured in dollars, which means we can simply print the money if need be. With our $14 trillion economy -- and current low levels of taxation -- we are more than able to pay our debts for the next ten years and beyond. The question isn't whether the United States can pay its debts. Rather, its whether we have the political will to do so. In the past, this wasn't a concern -- both Democrats and Republicans were committed to the full faith and credit of the United States...

Not Bad Enough

The July employment report isn’t bad, but that doesn’t mean it’s good, either. On the bright side, total private-sector payrolls increased by 154,000, a massive increase over the 18,000 jobs created in June. What’s more, the June numbers improved as well; after revision, the Bureau of Labor Statistics found that the economy created 46,000 jobs that month. A poor number, but not as catastrophic as originally reported. Still, the picture dims as you look further into the new numbers. Total public-sector payrolls decreased by 37,000, as state and local governments cut wokers in response to slow growth and low revenues. On the whole, the economy gained 118,000 jobs in July, better than before, but below the 125,000 jobs needed to keep pace with population growth. These numbers are lackluster, but they’re not so bad as to explain yesterday’s stock market dip, when the Dow lost more than 500 points. As Felix Salmon explains at Reuters, stocks are volatile and unpredictable, and sometimes...

To the Super Committee, and Beyond!

With Republicans beginning to focus their efforts on passing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, and further spending cuts via the “super committee,” it’s natural to wonder what plan – if any – Democrats have for the coming months. At a meeting this morning with liberal bloggers, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi explained her strategy and how Democrats would move forward after the August recess. As with the Obama administration, which has officially made its pivot to jobs, Pelosi plans to stick to jobs-and-economic growth messaging instead of deficit reduction. Her reasoning is straightforward: When Washington talks about deficits, Republicans dominate and put Democrats at a disadvantage. What’s more, partisan fighting over deficit reduction tars both parties with the public’s hate, even if Democrats are working to protect middle- and lower-income Americans from painful cuts. “When 12 clowns are in the ring, and a sane person jumps in, he looks like the 13th clown,”...

Please Congress, Can I Have Some More?

The budget deal reached this week dismayed liberals, but conservatives are just as dissatisfied.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) House Speaker John Boehner
To liberals, conservatives walked away from the debt-limit crisis on Tuesday with a killer deal. In exchange for lifting the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion, they received $1 trillion in immediate spending guts, with the promise of at least $1.2 trillion more come December. In Congress, House Progressive Caucus co-chair Raul Grijalva typified the left's reaction to the agreement: "This deal trades people's livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals." Conservatives, however, aren't so sure it was a touchdown. "I think that this is a Republican political victory," says Colin Hanna, president of Let Freedom Ring, a conservative activist group. "But it's not a conservative victory. If you looked at the positions from which the two parties began the negotiations as the end zones on a football field, then I think this result is somewhere along the 30 yard line, with Republicans close to the Democratic end zone." Among conservatives and Republicans as a whole, there...

No Deal Is the Best Deal for GOP Presidential Candidates

If you want a sense of how far right the Republican base is right now, even with the GOP’s huge victory on the debt ceiling, look no further than the Republican presidential candidates and their statements on the agreement reached last night. For erstwhile moderate Mitt Romney, the deal is a non-starter : As president, my plan would have produced a budget that was cut, capped and balanced – not one that opens the door to higher taxes and puts defense cuts on the table. President Obama’s leadership failure has pushed the economy to the brink at the eleventh hour and 59th minute. While I appreciate the extraordinarily difficult situation President Obama’s lack of leadership has placed Republican Members of Congress in, I personally cannot support this deal. Tim Pawlenty is similarly sober : This deal is nothing to celebrate. Only in Washington would the political class think it’s a victory when the government narrowly avoids default, agrees to go further into debt, and does little to...