Peter Stone

Peter H. Stone is a staff correspondent for the National Journal.

Recent Articles

Plan to Lose Money

The Great 401(k) Hoax: Why Your Family's Financial Security Is at Risk, and What You Can Do About It By William Wolman and Anne Colamosca. Perseus Publishing, 246 pages, $26.00 Since the Enron corporation imploded, Americans have gotten quite an education in the corporate chicanery, accounting gimmickry, Wall Street scams, and feckless regulation that helped sustain the roaring 1990s stock market. But there are still more lessons to be learned about the direct effects of the stock bubble on ordinary employees. The savings of thousands of Enron employees were wiped out by the company's collapse because employees' 401(k) plans were filled up with Enron stock. An obvious question, then, is: Just what impact did the 1990s financial excesses have on the lives of those millions of workers whose retirement plans have recently come to hinge on the popular but controversial savings account known as the 401(k)? In The Great 401(k) Hoax , former BusinessWeek staffers William Wolman and Anne...

Lethal Weapons

For gun control advocates, last fall's election results demonstrated the Sisyphean nature of battling the National Rifle Association. Senator John Ashcroft of Missouri was one of five NRA allies in Congress who was voted out, in part because of organized efforts by activist groups such as Handgun Control. But with George W. Bush in the White House, Ashcroft rose again and now, as attorney general, appears to be in a stronger position than ever to help the NRA. And Congress, meanwhile, seems entirely cowed by the NRA's clout. Consider the mild reaction to shootings at two San Diego schools in March. Congressional Democrats, who have become increasingly quiescent on gun issues, showed little interest in pursuing new gun curbs. Even such longtime gun control supporters as New York Senator Charles Schumer were speaking not of tougher laws but of voluntary measures. Further, the minimal step of requiring unlicensed dealers at gun shows to make thorough background checks is stalled in...

The Faster Track: Should We Build a High-Speed Rail System?

A solution to traffic jams breaks the investment jam.

I n 1966, James Powell and Gordon Danby, two scientists at Brookhaven National Laboratory, demonstrated the potential of using magnetic forces to lift, propel, and guide a wheelless vehicle with the capacity for much greater speeds than conventional trains. Federal funding for maglev, or magnetic levitation trains, followed for several years. But in 1975 all government support ceased because of a decision that America's highways, airways, and much reduced conventional trains were adequate to meet the nation's transportation needs. However, Japanese and German scientists and their governments not only invested in faster conventional trains. They also saw the tremendous potential of maglev trains to cut travel time and save energy. To date, both governments have provided about a billion dollars to develop commercial prototypes that float along guideways at speeds approaching 300 miles per hour. In many respects, the story of how Japan and Germany are racing to capitalize on yet another...