Pema Levy

Pema Levy is an assistant editor at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

It's the Demand Side, Stupid

Republicans' response to Obama's deficit-reduction plan -- which calls on millionaires and large corporations to pay higher taxes -- predictably consisted of two terms: "job creators" and "class warfare." Who are these job creators, anyway? They want you to think it's small businesses, but Obama's proposal to raise taxes on millionaires wouldn't affect 98 percent of small businesses. In reality, it would affect millionaires who, despite their wealth, haven't been creating jobs for some time. Republicans represent a view of the world in which our economic well-being depends on the few at the top helping everyone below them. As The New Republic 's Timothy Noah put it yesterday, "Sometime while I wasn't paying attention trickle-down economics got respectable." Sure, tax cuts can encourage businesses to hire, and Obama's jobs plan includes employer-side payroll tax cuts for this reason, though their impact is assumed to be limited. If trickle-down economics worked, then we wouldn't see...

Did 9/11 Cause the Financial Crisis?

It's hard to imagine that the economic meltdown would have been so bad had we not gone into Iraq or Afghanistan.

(Flickr/Nat Chan)
Before Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the state of Louisiana asked the Bush administration several times to fund the Southeast Louisiana Urban Flood Control Project, resources that would have gone toward building up drainage and flood-protection infrastructure in New Orleans. Instead, the federal government cut its funding every year, starting in 2002. A January 2005 memo from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) denied the project's last request before the storm, explaining that flood protection was not one of the administration's priorities; at the time, "fighting the War on Terror," "strengthening our homeland defense," and pro-growth economic policies took precedence, the OMB explained. Even after New Orleans and other parts of Louisiana and Mississippi were underwater, the federal government's focus abroad kept it from responding effectively: 8,200 National Guard troops whose job it would have been to respond to just such a crisis, along with two brigades' worth of their...

The Wrath of Women in Wisconsin

The Prospect talks to EMILY's List about the recall elections.

(AP Photo/Post-Crescent, Dan Powers) A Wisconsin teacher protests budget cuts
Today, Wisconsin voters head to the polls in the hope of recalling six Republican state senators who helped push Governor Scott Walker's union-busting agenda through the legislature. Democrats and other supporters of workers' rights have spent weeks organizing and protesting in preparation for the elections, which are a referendum on Walker's attack on collective-bargaining, education, health care, and Planned Parenthood. Five of the six Democratic challengers are women. EMILY's List, the campaign organization dedicated to electing pro-choice, Democratic women to political office, has been aiding their campaigns. The Prospect spoke with Stephanie Schriock, the president of EMILY's List, about what the recall means for women. How did we end up in a situation in which five of six candidates in Wisconsin are women? The fact that five of six are Democratic women, we haven't seen that in, well, have we ever seen that? I mean, women are only 17 percent of Congress right now. This is huge...

Trojan Plan

Does providing birth control without co-pays to women let men off the hook?

By 2014, women with health insurance will be able to get condoms with a prescription, free of co-pay. Men, on the other hand, will have to pay for them. This isn't the only thing women will get included in their premiums. The list includes HIV screenings, breast-feeding pumps, pap smears, and sterilization surgeries. Anything the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) deems preventative care for women will be free. The reason: Women of reproductive age pay 68 percent more in out-of-pocket health costs than their male counterparts, most of it for reproductive care. They bear most of the costs of birth control. To address this disproportionate financial burden, the HHS announced new rules requiring that health-insurance companies cover the cost of women's preventative care, including contraceptives. In solving one problem, though, the requirement may create another: Men will still have to pay for services related to contraception and sexual health. The question becomes, if men...

The Never-Ending War

States try for the umpteenth time to defund Planned Parenthood.

(AP Photo/John Hanna) Kansas Governor Sam Brownback
In 2005, Texas created a tiered system it used to distribute federal grant money to medical clinics. Those at the bottom of the list were unlikely to receive any money at all. The point was to direct public funds away from family-planning clinics and abortion providers, so clinics like Planned Parenthood found themselves at the bottom. This spring, the Texas Legislature went further to create a three-tiered system that will likely leave Planned Parenthood with little to no funding. Texas's isn't the only legislature launching a renewed effort to attack both abortion rights and reproductive health care. Anti-abortion advocates seem to be trying any and all legislation to see what sticks in court and are finding creative ways to circumvent Roe v. Wade . One of the newest strategies is modeled on Texas's tiered-funding system. This spring, Kansas lawmakers and Governor Sam Brownback boasted that they were going to "zero out" funding to Planned Parenthood using an amendment to the state...