Merrill Goozner

Merrill Goozner is the senior correspondent for The Fiscal Times and a Prospect contributing editor. His blog can be found at

Recent Articles

The Price Isn't Right

Americans pay the highest prices in the world for prescription drugs. Drug expenditures in the United States have doubled since 1993 and are expected to double again by 2004, according to a study by the Health Insurance Association of America. Elderly people now spend more on medicine than on doctor bills. Many health plans have cut back on other benefits because of their rising drug bills. About one-third of seniors have no insurance and are therefore paying the highest, nondiscounted retail prices. The pharmaceutical industry has one defense for the skyrocketing price of drugs: Private-sector labs are chiefly responsible for the breakthroughs in prescription drugs. Any efforts to limit drug prices, especially under a Medicare drug benefit, will short-circuit the medical revolution now underway. Writing last year in The Wall Street Journal , Schering-Plough Corporation Chief Executive Richard Jay Kogan took aim at politicians and public-...

Forty Acres and a Sheepskin

Redistributing income has always been difficult politics, but recent books propose a host of wealth-building ideas that may have some purchase even in today’s free market political environment. 

T he vision of broadly shared wealth is a long-standing American theme, dating back to the yeomen farmers of colonial times. America, uniquely, was a land of freeholders. Its egalitarian distribution of property undergirded its nascent political democracy. Thomas Jefferson explicitly put public policy on the side of broadly distributed property wealth when he decided that the public lands in the territories should be conveyed not to absentee real estate companies but to settlers who would work the land. The freeholding tradition was continued into the nineteenth century with the Homestead Act, the establishment of land-grant colleges, and the freedmen's demand for 40 acres and a mule. In an industrial era, however, most wealth is not in the form of land, and the question of broadly diffused property becomes more complex. Early in this century, the business community attempted to preempt the appeal of trade unionism with the American Plan of the 1920s and its promise of company...

Needed: Economic Security

Over the next few weeks, America will be consumed by debate about how life in this beacon of freedom may have to change to confront the terrorist threat. Liberals will have to think creatively about how to protect civil liberties in an era when it has become apparent that there are cells of people within the U.S. who are willing to engage in indiscriminate mass murder to further their insane politics. But we have to do more. We must use this moment of national grief and unified purpose to advance a positive agenda that speaks to all Americans, who are desperate for a way to contribute to the war effort. Issues of economic security and policy have not gone away --they have only been upstaged for now by the terrorist threat. Here are a few questions that should not be overlooked: First, the nation must immediately embark on a crash program to wean itself from dependence on foreign oil. That means substantially weaning itself from oil itself. The most fitting memorial to the dead of...