Harold Meyerson

Harold Meyerson is the executive editor of The American ProspectHis email is hmeyerson@prospect.org.

Recent Articles

Low Unemployment Doesn't Increase Wages Like It Used To

AP Photo/John Minchillo
AP Photo/John Minchillo Globalization, Contingent Employment, Non-Compete Clauses, and Now This: A robot works alongside a human, Virginia Beach, 2017. This article appears in the Fall 2017 issue o f The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . O n the first Friday of every month, the Labor Department releases the latest numbers on employment and wages. Here’s a sampling of recent headlines from the mornings after, which have remained remarkably unchanged month after month: “The Job Market Is Strong, but Wages for Americans Have Barely Rebounded” ( The Washington Post , May), “Jobs Aplenty, but Wages Stagnate” ( The Wall Street Journal , June), “Payrolls Expand, Even as Pay Lags” ( The New York Times , July), “US Jobs Growth Rebounds but Wages Disappoint” ( Financial Times , July). Those “buts” (and the one “even as”) are a shorthand expression of both common sense and the consensus among virtually every school of economic thought: In a market economy, as unemployment falls and...

Graham-Cassidy: Republicans Kill Parents, Complain They’re Orphans

“Right now, 37 percent of the revenue from the Affordable Care Act goes to Americans in four states,” Louisiana Republican Senator Bill Cassidy, coauthor of the Republicans’ last-gasp effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, said on Monday. Cassidy’s culprits—the four states at the center of this cosmic injustice—are California, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland.

“That is frankly not fair,” Cassidy complained.

Well—whose fault is that? California, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland are among the 31 states (32, if we count the District of Columbia) that agreed to accept federal funds made available by the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid; California and New York are by far the most populous of those 31 states, with nearly 60 million residents combined. Nineteen states, however, chose not to accept the federal funds that would expand their Medicaid rolls. In each of the 19, the decision not to accept the funds was made by the state’s Republican governor. This Republican impulse to discipline the poor, lest they loll around in the comfort of hospital emergency wards, is also reflected in the lower levels of Medicaid benefits that Republican-controlled states generally set.

Cassidy’s chutzpah isn’t confined to hailing as victims the actual perpetrators of the imbalance he describes. His bill to repeal the ACA contains provisions similar to ones in the previous Republican ACA repeal efforts, which the Congressional Budget Office concluded would deny Medicaid benefits to 15 million recipients. His plan is not to erase the gap between blue states and red by expanding Medicaid to eligible recipients in all states, but by throwing millions off the rolls and reducing expenditures to the levels in the neo-Confederacy (nine of the eleven Southern states that formed the Confederacy are among the 19 that refused to accept the Medicaid expansion funds), where the impulse to discipline the poor is made steelier yet by the impulse to discipline blacks and other people of color.

Cassidy’s vision of fairness, finally, is to have no Medicaid at all. That way, the sick and the poor in blue states won’t be able to lord it over the sick and the poor in the red ones. What could be fairer than that?

The Genius of Bernie’s Gradualism

Olivier Douliery/Abaca/Sipa via AP Images
Olivier Douliery/Abaca/Sipa via AP Images Senator Bernie Sanders holds a press conference on his Medicare for All bill on Capitol Hill. I ’m a fervent supporter of Bernie Sanders’s Medicare for All bill, which he introduced Wednesday along with 16 Senate Democrat co-sponsors—and not only because I believe health care is a right and that a universal single-payer system is the best way to ensure that right. I also support it because it diminishes the power of capital not just in our economy but in our politics as well. I also support it because it’s aspirational—setting a long-term goal that will both motivate Democratic and progressive activists and clarify the Democrats’ purpose to an electorate that at times has been understandably unsure how or whether the Democrats champion their interests. Most important, I also support it because it’s gradualist—expanding Medicare in its first tranche to cover just those Americans under 19 and over 49, then lowering the age for eligibility to 45...

A Post-Charlottesville To-Do List for Anti-Trumpers

Andrew Shurtleff /The Daily Progress via AP
Andrew Shurtleff /The Daily Progress via AP People participate in a candlelight vigil at the University of Virginia Wednesday night, August 16, 2017, in Charlottesville. I n the wake of the Charlottesville murder, the resistible re-emergence of the Klan, American Nazis, and a president settling into a neo-fascist groove, progressives’ action agenda could stand some updating. Here are a few suggestions: · Mount ongoing vigils or demonstrations at the nation’s anti-fascist, anti-racist monuments. In the nation’s capital, that would include both the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II memorial in the middle of the National Mall. The World War II Memorial should get special attention, with demonstrators making constant reference to the thousands of their parents, grandparents, great-grandparents, and so on—or, among the very old, their buddies—who gave their lives to defeat the most virulent anti-Semitism and racism the world has ever known, and making clear that neo-Nazis and Klansmen...

Trump’s Racist Silence

(Rex Features via AP)
(Rex Features via AP) Demonstrators rally in solidarity with Charlottesville in Denver, Colorado, on August 13, 2017. I n a quick-reaction mini-op-ed on The Washington Post ’s website, conservative columnist Hugh Hewitt opined about the Charlottesville killing, “Anyone who incited the driver, indeed anyone whose actions obliged the state troopers to be airborne in defense of the public’s safety, should lawyer up.” Well, President Trump is already lawyered up, but by Hewitt’s standard, there’s now one more reason why the president needs legal help. The very essence of Trump’s political strategy and his administration’s policy has been and remains white nationalism, which has intentionally both fed on and fostered the virulent and violent racism we saw in Charlottesville on Saturday. Not since George Wallace’s presidential runs had there been a campaign so premised on the hates and fears of white racism as Trump’s. Though he began his bid with birtherism, and made an attack on “Mexicans...

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