Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

The Downside of the Recall

While recall elections seem like a way to give power to the people, they actually do more harm than good.

Former Texas Gov. Ann Richards and California Gov. Gray Davis join hands during an anti-recall rally in 2003. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)
Will 2011 be the year of the recall election? In January, conservative activists tried -- and failed -- to recall the mayor of Omaha, Nebraska, Jim Suttle, because he tried to raise taxes and negotiate with local unions. More recently, critics of Gov. Jan Brewer have begun collecting signatures to force a recall election in Arizona. And in Wisconsin, unions have begun a massive effort to recall three Republican state senators for their support of Gov. Scott Walker and his plan to end collective bargaining for public-sector employees. The Wisconsin effort in particular has garnered widespread national attention. According to Talking Points Memo , the Progressive Change Campaign Committee and Democracy for America has raised more than half a million dollars for TV ads in support of the recall effort, and The Washington Post reports that the state's Democratic Party has thrown its full support behind the organizers. On paper, the recall sounds great as a means toward democratic...

Sacrifice: Only the Middle-Class Need Apply

With teachers on the ropes, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has opened another front in his ongoing campaign against public sector workers: Governor Christie called New Jersey police and firefighters greedy and said their mass protest in Trenton on Thursday would play “absolutely zero” role in the ongoing debate over public worker benefits. The governor, speaking during a news conference inside the State House as thousands of unionized police and firefighters rallied outside, said the unions are refusing to compromise on contracts that pay expensive benefits taxpayers can no longer afford. “They’re choosing their own greed over the betterment of the public,” he said. It's hard to make a direct public/private sector comparison with New Jersey's police officers and firefighters — since there aren't equivalent professions in the private sector — but you'd be hard-pressed to say that they're overpaid or "greedy." According to a 2010 analysis...

Investors Are Also Worried About Unemployment

As an addendum to yesterday's post on investor confidence in the United States, it's worth noting this recent Gallup survey , in which they gave investors a list of possible situations that could affect the investment climate, and asked which were hurting or helping the United States. Of the choices, deficits and unemployment ranked the highest: Obviously, investors aren't the definitive arbiters of what will help or hurt the economy. That said, for those preoccupied with the potential economic cost of debt, this should be (another) reminder that high unemployment is as much a drag on growth as high deficits. Indeed, it might be a greater drag; after all, deficits are likely to fall as the economy recovers from the recession and financial crisis. Unemployment isn't as mechanical, and there's a strong chance that we'll face persistently high joblessness, which -- like high debt -- is disastrous for future economic growth.

Wealth and Success, Again

Andrew Sullivan has done it again. In a post about rampant income inequality -- which, to be fair, he sees as a problem -- Sullivan equates "wealth" with "success." I'll let E.D. Kain explain what's wrong with this equivalence: But what really irks me about Andrew’s post is his use of the phrase ‘penalizing people for their success does not help the less successful’. This is not about penalizing anyone, first of all. Second, anyone who is still under the illusion that wealth is a good measure of success needs to reexamine the American economy. Often as not wealth is tied so closely to privilege and connections and luck that it’s almost impossible to weed out where those factors leave off and real merit begins. And why is a teacher earning fifty grand a year less successful than a Wall Street banker making twenty or fifty times that? Last I checked the very ‘successful’ in this country had to be bailed out to the tune of many hundreds of billions of...

The President: Still a Politician

On Meet the Press yesterday, White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley denied that the nation's top politician is thinking about his reelection campaign: White House chief of staff Bill Daley said on Sunday President Barack Obama isn’t concerned about the politics of 2012. “This is a guy that doesn’t look at politics as left, center, whatever,” he said on NBC's “Meet the Press.” "This president doesn’t think this way,” Daley added. 

Pointing to Obama’s achievements over the past two years, Daley said his focus has always been on the economy. “They’ve been center at times, people can interpret them as however they want,” he said. While I doubt this is true -- again, I'd be shocked if the country's top politician isn't thinking about politics -- the two aren't mutually exclusive. Good economic performance (or at least, relatively good economic performance) is integral to Obama's reelection chances. As such...