In Bill and Hillary, one of our preeminent historians, William H. Chafe, boldly argues that the trajectory of the Clintons' political lives can be understood only through the prism of their personal relationship. From the day they first met at Yale Law School, Bill and Hillary were inseparable, even though their relationship was inherently volatile. The personal dynamic between them would go on to determine their political fates. Hillary was instrumental in Bill's triumphs as Arkansas's governor, and she saved his presidential candidacy in 1992 by standing with him during the Gennifer Flowers sex scandal. He responded by delegating to her powers that no other First Lady had ever exercised. Always tempestuous, their relationship had as many lows as highs, from near divorce to stunning electoral and political successes. Chafe's penetrating insights—into subjects such as health care, Kenneth Starr, welfare reform, and the extent to which the Lewinsky scandal finally freed Hillary to become a politician in her own right—add texture and depth to our understanding of the Clintons' experience together. Bill and Hillary is the definitive account of the Clintons’ relationship and its far-reaching impact on American political life.
The son of a Lithuanian blacksmith, Sidney R. Yates rose to the pinnacle of Washington power and influence. As chair of a House Appropriations Subcommittee, Yates was a preeminent national figure involved in issues that ranged from the environment and Native American rights to Israel and support for the arts. Speaker Tip O'Neill relied on the savvy Chicagoan in the trenches and advised anyone with controversial legislation to first "clear it with Sid!" Michael C. Dorf and George Van Dusen draw on scores of interviews and unprecedented access to private papers to illuminate the life of an Illinois political icon. Wise, energetic, charismatic, petty, stubborn--Sid Yates presented a complicated character to constituents and colleagues alike. Yet his get-it-done approach to legislation allowed him to bridge partisan divides in the often-polarized House of Representatives. Following Yates from the campaign trail to the negotiating table to the House floor, Dorf and Van Dusen offer a rich portrait of a dealmaker extraordinaire and tireless patriot on a fifty-year journey through postwar American politics.
The Clinton scandal consumed the better part of a year of American public life, bitterly dividing the nation and culminating in a constitutional crisis. In this book, thoughtful, nonpartisan essays provide an insightful and lasting analysis of one of the major political events of our time.
Here leading scholars explore the long-reaching constitutional and political implications of the scandal: how it will affect the presidency, the law, and the political process. A first group of chapters considers effects of the scandal on institutions: the presidency, Congress, the courts, the independent counsel statute, executive privilege, and the impeachment process itself. A second section addresses political factors: public opinion, the media, and presidential character and personality. A concluding essay broadly examines the implications of the scandal for governance.
These far-reaching essays address such issues as risks posed to Congressional political careers, the prospect of future presidents being subject to civil suits, the pros and cons of Kenneth Starr's investigation, the role of the media in breaking and then shaping the story, and ways of reforming the system to handle the unacceptable private behavior of future presidents.
A provocative book for readers concerned with how our government copes with such a challenge, and an essential reader for courses on the presidency or American government, this collection will stand the tests of both time and rigorous analysis.
This book argues, against the current view, that competitiveness--that is, the competitiveness of the manufacturing sector--matters to the long-term health of the U.S. economy and particularly to its long-term capacity to raise the standard of living of its citizens. The book challenges the arguments popularized most recently by Paul Krugman that
competitiveness is a dangerous obsession that distracts us from the question most central to solving the problem of stagnant real income growth, namely, what causes productivity growth, especially in the service sector.
The central argument is that, if the U.S. economy is to achieve full employment with rising real wages, it is necessary to enhance the competitiveness of its tradable goods sector. The book shows that current account deficits cannot be explained by macroeconomic mismanagement but are rather the consequence of an uncompetitive manufacturing sector. It finds that the long-term health of the manufacturing sector requires not only across-the-board policies to remedy problems of low or inefficient investment, but also sectoral policies to address problems that are strategic to resolving the balance of payments problems. Lessons are drawn from the experience of some European and Asian countries.
This book will be of interest to economists, political scientists, and business researchers concerned with the place of the manufacturing sector in overall health of the U.S. economy, with issues of industrial policy and industrial restructuring, and with the conditions for rising standards of living.
Candace Howes is Associate Professor, Barbara Hogate Ferrin Chair, Connecticut College. Ajit Singh is Professor of Economics, Queens College, Cambridge.
The boom of the U.S. economy in the late 1990s suggests that Americans are better off than they were a decade ago, but this is not true across the board and the reason, as James Galbraith explains, is wage inequality. He contends that inequality is not the result of impersonal market forces but of specific government decisions and the poor economic performance they created. Featuring a new afterword on wage shifts since 1994, Created Unequal is a rousing book that reminds us we can reclaim our country through economic understanding, commonsense policy, and political action.
"Created Unequal is not light reading, but Galbraith's elegant arguments, passionate exposition, and profound conclusions make it worth the trouble. . . . [Galbraith] remind[s] us that the economy is and ought to be run by humans, not humans by the economy."—Joanna Ciulla, Los Angeles Times Book Review
"Created Unequal is a lucid and wise explanation of why America seems to be prospering while most Americans aren't. James Galbraith takes steady aim at a variety of widely accepted economic myths and hits most of them dead center. This book will tell you a lot about the way your economic world really works."—Jeff Faux, President of the Economic Policy Institute
"[A] brilliant and iconoclastic examination of the major social trend of our time."—Michael Lind, Washington Monthly
Drawing from their experience as government insiders, George P. Shultz and Kenneth W. Dam show how economic policy is shaped at the highest levels of government. They reveal the interconnections between economic, social, and international policy, covering issues such as the advocacy system and the role of the individual in shaping policy. A new chapter, 'A Changed World,' explores the various influences of our increasingly global economy on economic strategy. With rare candor, authority and breadth of vision, Shultz and Dam have produced a brilliant introduction to economic policy, its principles, and practice.
"A model of brevity and lucidity . . . [Economic Policy Beyond the Headlines] incorporates a unique and rewarding blend of economic reasoning with a high level of political awareness . . . enriched by the wide personal experience in government of the authors."—Albert T. Sommers, Across the Board
"[Shultz and Dam] help foreign readers to understand why the world looks so different from Washington. . . . This book should provide the model."—The Economist
"A wise and valuable book showing great insight into the realities of economic policy making."—Henry A. Kissinger
In this highly acclaimed, provocative book, Robert Kuttner disputes the laissez-faire direction of both economic theory and practice that has been gaining in prominence since the mid-1970s. Dissenting voices, Kuttner argues, have been drowned out by a stream of circular arguments and complex mathematical models that ignore real-world conditions and disregard values that can't easily be turned into commodities. With its brilliant explanation of how some sectors of the economy require a blend of market, regulation, and social outlay, and a new preface addressing the current global economic crisis, Kuttner's study will play an important role in policy-making for the twenty-first century.
"The best survey of the limits of free markets that we have. . . . A much needed plea for pragmatism: Take from free markets what is good and do not hesitate to recognize what is bad."—Jeff Madrick, Los Angeles Times
"It ought to be compulsory reading for all politicians—fortunately for them and us, it is an elegant read."—The Economist
"Demonstrating an impressive mastery of a vast range of material, Mr. Kuttner lays out the case for the market's insufficiency in field after field: employment, medicine, banking, securities, telecommunications, electric power."—Nicholas Lemann, New York Times Book Review
"A powerful empirical broadside. One by one, he lays on cases where governments have outdone markets, or at least performed well."—Michael Hirsh, Newsweek
"To understand the economic policy debates that will take place in the next few years, you can't do better than to read this book."—Suzanne Garment, Washington Post Book World
In the traditional view of foreign policy making in the United States, the President is considered the primary authority and Congress is seen as playing a subsidiary role. Marie T. Henehan looks at the effects of events in the international system on both the content of foreign policy and what actions Congress takes on foreign policy. Henehan argues that the only way to understand the way congressional behavior varies over time is by looking at the rise and resolution of critical issues in foreign policy, which in turn have their origin in the international system. When a critical foreign policy issue arises, congressional activity and attempts to influence foreign policy increase. Once the debate is resolved and one side wins, a consensus emerges and Congress settles into a more passive role. Using a data set consisting of all roll call votes on foreign policy issues taken by the Senate from 1897 to 1984 to generate indicators of Congressional behavior, together with the rise and fall of critical issues in international relations, Henehan is able to develop a more nuanced understanding of Congress's role in foreign policy making over time.
In recent years political scientists have begun to consider the impact of the international system on domestic policy. Part of the difficulty of some of this work, as well as work on Congress's role in foreign policy, is that it has been limited in terms of time and the number of events the analysis considered, depending on case studies. This book offers a systematic consideration of the effects of international events on domestic politics, crossing many different kinds of international activity, and provides a unique longitudinal view of Congressional action on foreign policy.
This book will be of interest to scholars of international relations, American foreign policy making, and Congress.
Marie T. Henehan is Assistant Professor of Political Science, Vanderbilt University.
Democratic government is about making choices. Sometimes those choices involve the distribution of benefits. At other times they involve the imposition of some type of loss—a program cut, increased taxes, or new regulatory standards. Citizens will resist such impositions if they can, or will try to punish governments at election time. The dynamics of loss imposition are therefore a universal—if unpleasant—element of democratic governance. The Government Taketh Away examines the repercussions of unpopular government decisions in Canada and the United States, the two great democratic nations of North America.
Pal, Weaver, and their contributors compare the capacities of the U.S. presidential system and the Canadian Westminster system to impose different types of losses: symbolic losses (gun control and abortion), geographically concentrated losses (military base closings and nuclear waste disposal), geographically dispersed losses (cuts to pensions and to health care), and losses imposed on business (telecommunications deregulation and tobacco control). Theory holds that Westminster-style systems should, all things being equal, have a comparative advantage in loss imposition because they concentrate power and authority, though this can make it easier to pin blame on politicians too. The empirical findings of the cases in this book paint a more complex picture. Westminster systems do appear to have some robust abilities to impose losses, and US institutions provide more opportunities for loss-avoiders to resist government policy in some sectors. But in most sectors, outcomes in the two countries are strikingly similar.
The Government Taketh Away is essential for the scholar and students of public policy or comparative policy. It is also an important book for the average citizen who wants to know more about the complexities of living in a democratic society where the government can give-but how it can also, sometimes painfully, "taketh away."
Half-Life of a Zealot
Swanee Hunt Duke University Press, 2006 Library of Congress E840.8.H87A3 2006 | Dewey Decimal 327.730092
Swanee Hunt’s life has lived up to her Texas-size childhood. Daughter of legendary oil magnate H. L. Hunt, she grew up in a household dominated by an arch-conservative patriarch who spawned a brood of colorful offspring. Her family was nothing if not zealous, and that zeal—albeit for more compassionate causes—propelled her into a mission that reaches around the world.
Half-Life of a Zealot tells how the girl who spoke against “Reds” alongside her father became a fierce advocate for progressive change in America and abroad, an innovative philanthropist, and Bill Clinton’s Ambassador to Austria. In captivating prose, Hunt describes the warmth and wear of Southern Baptist culture, which instilled in her a calling to help those who are vulnerable. The reader is drawn into her full-throttle professional life as it competes with critical family needs.
Hunt gives a remarkably frank account of her triumphs and shortcomings; her sorrows, including a miscarriage and the failure of a marriage; the joys and struggles of her second marriage; and her angst over the life-threatening illness of one of her three children. She is candid about the opportunities her fortune has created, as well as the challenge of life as an heiress.
Much of Swanee Hunt’s professional life is devoted to expanding women’s roles in making and shaping public policy. She is the founding director of Harvard’s Women and Public Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government, chair of the Initiative for Inclusive Security, and president of the Hunt Alternatives Fund.
Swanee Hunt’s autobiography brims over with strong women: her mother, whose religious faith and optimism were an inspiration; her daughter, who fights the social stigma of mental disorders; the women of war-torn Bosnia, who transformed their grief into action; and friends like Hillary Clinton, who used her position as First Lady to strengthen the voices of others.
Hunt is one more strong woman. Half-Life of a Zealot is her story—so far.
As the distribution of wealth between rich and poor in the United States grew more and more unequal over the past twenty years, this economic gap assumed a life of its own in the popular culture. The news and entertainment media increasingly portrayed the lives of the poor with such stereotypes as the lazy welfare mother and the thuggish teen, offering Americans few ways to learn how the "other half" really lives. Laboring Below the Line works to bridge this gap by synthesizing a wide range of qualitative scholarship on the working poor. The result is a coherent, nuanced portrait of how life is lived below the poverty line, and a compelling analysis of the systemic forces in which poverty is embedded, and through which it is perpetuated. Laboring Below the Line explores the role of interpretive research in understanding the causes and effects of poverty. Drawing on perspectives of the working poor, welfare recipients, and marginally employed men and women, the contributors—an interdisciplinary roster of ethnographers, oral historians, qualitative sociologists, and narrative analysts—dissect the life circumstances that affect the personal outlook, ability to work, and expectations for the future of these people. For example, Carol Stack views the work aspirations of an Oakland teenager for whom a job is important, even though it strains her academic performance. And Ruth Buchanan looks at low-wage telemarketing workers who are attempting to move up the economic ladder while balancing family, education, and other important commitments. What emerges is a compelling picture of low-wage workers—one that illustrates the precarious circumstances of individuals struggling with the economic conditions and institutions that surround them Each chapter also explores the capacity for economic survival from a different angle, with ancillary commentary complementing the ethnographies with perspectives from other fields of study, such as economics. At this moment of governmental retrenchment, ethnography's complex, nonstereotypical portraits of individual people fighting against poverty are especially important. Laboring Below the Line reveals the ambiguities of real lives, the potential for individuals to change in unexpected ways, and the even greater intricacy of the collective life of a community.
Revised and updated to include the most current information on same-sex marriage, The Limits to Union documents a legal struggle at its moment of greatest historical importance.
"The Limits to Union is a superb book about the complexities of recent political struggles over same-sex marriage. Goldberg-Hiller offers a sophisticated account of egalitarian rights advocacy and the reaction it has generated from established majorities animated by a 'new common sense' of exclusionary sovereign authority. The author's analysis is multidimensional and nuanced, but the core argument is bold, important, and well-supported. I recommend it very highly to everyone interested in understanding the character, possibilities, and constraints of civil rights amid our contemporary culture wars."
-Michael McCann, author of Rights at Work: Pay Equity Reform and the Politics of Legal Mobilization
"In this excellent book, Goldberg-Hiller uses Hawaii's experience to examine the interaction between courts and the political system. . . . Relying on briefs, legislative statements, and interviews with activists from both sides of the question, he views this familiar debate . . . through the unfamiliar prism of gay marriage, which allows him to gauge the viability and the pliability of the American civil rights ideal, and how gay and lesbian issues fit (or don't fit) within that ideal."
-Willian Heinzen, New York Law Journal
"Goldberg-Hiller presents the history of the same-sex marriage question since it first sparked debate in Hawaii. He follows the shifting debate through court cases, state propositions, and state and federal legislatures, considering questions about the constitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act and the concept of equal protection under the law for gays and lesbians. This detailed treatment of the legal issues surrounding same-sex marriages is highly recommended."
-R. L. Abbott, University of Evansville
"[A] valuable contribution to the field, situating the gay marriage debate in broader contexts of theory, law and practice. [S]ame-sex marriage is an important issue...that finds itself caught in the friction points of much larger debates over the nature of rights, the limits of sovereignty and the proper role of courts and law in a democratic society. The Limits to Union should therefore be of interest even to those who do not think of themselves as interested in gay and lesbian rights issues."
-Evan Gerstmann, Loyola Marymount University, Law and Politics Book Review
From the conflicts over the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the World Trade Organization to concern over illegal immigration and debates over the official status of the English language, politicians and citizens have been reconsidering fundamental questions about American society’s role in a changing global arena. Applying concepts derived from the study of international and comparative politics, Edward S. Cohen offers a systematic analysis of the impact of globalization on United States domestic politics.
Focusing on the obvious issue of trade and the less obvious areas of immigration and language policy, Cohen demonstrates that globalization is both the cause and result of a new relationship between the government, corporations, and citizens within the United States. Globalization has led to the formation of new political divisions and coalitions and has caused deepening conflicts over the purposes and goals of American politics. The outcome of these conflicts, Cohen argues, will determine the future of American political life.
Showing that globalization has transformed the priorities and responsibilities of sovereign states rather than hastening their demise, the book will interest politicians, policymakers, and students looking for a discussion of globalization that is grounded in the recent political history of the United States.
As America’s first truly postmodern president, Bill Clinton experienced both great highs and stunning lows in office that will shape the future course of American politics. Clinton will forever be remembered as the first elected president to be impeached, but will his tarnished legacy have lasting effects on America’s political system?
Including the conflict in Kosovo, the World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, and new developments in the 2000 presidential campaign, The Postmodern Presidency is the most comprehensive and current assessment of Bill Clinton’s presidency available in print.
The book examines Clinton’s role in redefining the institution of the presidency, and his affect on future presidents’ economic and foreign policies. The contributors highlight the president’s unprecedented courtship of public opinion; how polls affected policy; how the president gained “celebrity” status; how Clinton’s “postmodern” style of public presidency helped him survive the 1994 elections and impeachment; and how all of this might impact future presidents.
This new text also demonstrates how the Clinton presidency changed party politics in the public and in Congress, with long-term implications and costs to both Republicans and his own Democratic party, while analyzing Clinton’s effect on the 1990s “culture wars,” the politics and importance of gender, and the politics and policy of race.
In the wake of the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal, the Christian Right expected major victories in the 1998 elections. Instead, many of its allies lost close contests, and the movement was seen as a liability in some high-profile campaigns. In the only in-depth study of the Christian Right's role in these races, leading scholars analyze the role of the movement in fourteen key states, from Maine to California, and address speculations that the movement is fading from the American political scene.
The book focuses on elections on the state and local levels, where the Christian Right is most influential, and it describes the movement's niche in some detail. Although each campaign described in the book had its unique characteristics, the editors have drawn some broad conclusions about the 1998 elections. While the movement was weak in the areas of candidate recruitment and fundraising, they say, the outcome may have also been related to external factors including a broader turnout of typically Democratic constituencies and the country's boredom with the scandal that conservatives had made the centerpiece of their campaign. Despite the setbacks of 1998, the contributors argue, the Christian Right continues to have an enormous influence on the political dialogue of the country.
Written from an unbiased, nonpartisan perspective, this volume sheds light on a topic that is too frequently mired in controversy.
Are Americans less prejudiced now than they were thirty years ago, or has racism simply gone "underground"? Is racism something we learn as children, or is it a result of certain social groups striving to maintain their privileged positions in society?
In Racialized Politics, political scientists, sociologists, and psychologists explore the current debate surrounding the sources of racism in America. Published here for the first time, the essays represent three major approaches to the topic. The social psychological approach maintains that prejudice socialized early in life feeds racial stereotypes, while the social structural viewpoint argues that behavior is shaped by whites' fear of losing their privileged status. The third perspective looks to non-racially inspired ideology, including attitudes about the size and role of government, as the reason for opposition to policies such as affirmative action. Timely and important, this collection provides a state-of-the-field assessment of the current issues and findings on the role of racism in mass politics and public opinion.
Contributors are Lawrence Bobo, Gretchen C. Crosby, Michael C. Dawson, Christopher Federico, P. J. Henry, John J. Hetts, Jennifer L. Hochschild, William G. Howell, Michael Hughes, Donald R. Kinder, Rick Kosterman, Tali Mendelberg, Thomas F. Pettigrew, Howard Schuman, David O. Sears, James Sidanius, Pam Singh, Paul M. Sniderman, Marylee C. Taylor, and Steven A. Tuch.
Prayer in public schools, abortion, gay and lesbian rights—these bitterly divisive issues dominate American politics today, revealing deep disagreements over basic moral values. In a highly readable account that draws on legal arguments, political theory, and philosophy, Ronald F. Thiemann explores the proper role of religious convictions in American public life. He proposes that religion can and should play an active, positive part in our society even as it maintains a fundamental commitment to pluralist, democratic values.
Arguing that both increased secularism and growing religious diversity since the 1960s have fragmented commonly held values, Thiemann observes that there has been an historical ambivalence in American attitudes towards religion in public life. He proposes abandoning the idea of an absolute wall between church and state and all the conceptual framework built around that concept in interpreting the first amendment. He returns instead to James Madison's views and the Constitutional principles of liberty, equality, and toleration. Refuting both political liberalism (as too secular) and communitarianism (as failing to meet the challenge of pluralism), Thiemann offers a new definition of liberalism that gives religions a voice in the public sphere as long as they heed the Constitutional principles of liberty, equality, and toleration or mutual respect.
The American republic, Thiemann notes, is a constantly evolving experiment in constructing a pluralistic society from its many particular communities. Religion can act as a positive force in its moral renewal, by helping to shape common cultural values.
All those interested in finding solutions to today's divisive political discord, in finding ways to disagree civilly in a democracy, and in exploring the extent to which religious convictions should shape the development of public policies will find that this book offers an important new direction for religion and the nation.
During the past decade, Democrats and Republicans each have received about fifty percent of the votes and controlled about half of the government, but this has not resulted in policy deadlock. Despite highly partisan political posturing, the policy regime has been largely moderate. Incremental, yet substantial, policy innovations such as welfare reform; deficit reduction; the North American Free Trade Agreement; and the deregulation of telecommunications, banking, and agriculture have been accompanied by such continuities as Social Security and Medicare, the maintenance of earlier immigration reforms, and the persistence of many rights-based policies, including federal affirmative action.
InSeeking the Center, twenty-one contributors analyze policy outcomes in light of the frequent alternation in power among evenly divided parties. They show how the triumph of policy moderation and the defeat of more ambitious efforts, such as health care reform, can be explained by mutually supporting economic, intellectual, and political forces. Demonstrating that the determinants of public policy become clear by probing specific issues, rather than in abstract theorizing, they restore the politics of policymaking to the forefront of the political science agenda.
A successor to Martin A. Levin and Marc K. Landy’s influential The New Politics of Public Policy (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1995), this book will be vital reading for advanced undergraduate and graduate students in political science and public policy, as well as a resource for scholars in both fields.
In this wide-ranging assessment of democracy in America today, fifteen respected scholars of American politics chart the strengths and weaknesses of the nation’s democratic mechanisms and outline the challenges that lie ahead. They focus not on specific policies or elections but on the quality of American political life, the representativeness of its governing institutions, and the issues of racial and economic equity.
The contributors cover a broad spectrum of the American political process. Topics include the extent and nature of political participation, the relevance of political parties, political fundraising and its policy consequences, demographic change and its likely effect on the national political agenda, and the future of racial politics. Others explore how representative Congress really is today, how the market economy affects public policy, the use of impeachment as a political weapon, and the degree of corporate influence on the political process. A final chapter explores the circumstances likely to shape policy agendas over the course of the twenty-first century.
Taken together, these essays provide a clear picture of political evolution during the past fifty years and discuss possible problems and issues of the future. Written for advanced undergraduate and graduate students, the book is a thoughtful, well-documented, critical analysis of contemporary American democracy.
Politics may be the art of compromise, but accepting a compromise can be hazardous to a politician’s health. Politicians worry about betraying faithful supporters, about losing the upper hand on an issue before the next election, that accepting half a loaf today can make it harder to get the whole loaf tomorrow. In his original interpretation of competition between parties and between Congress and the president, Gilmour explains the strategies available to politicians who prefer to disagree and uncovers the lost opportunities to pass important legislation that result from this disagreement.
Strategic Disagreement, theoretically solid and rich in evidence, will enlighten Washington observers frustrated by the politics of gridlock and will engage students interested in organizational theory, political parties, and divided government.
Michael Meeropol argues that the ballooning of the federal budget deficit was not a serious problem in the 1980s, nor were the successful recent efforts to get it under control the basis for the prosperous economy of the mid-1990s. In this controversial book, the author provides a close look at what actually happened to the American economy during the years of the "Reagan Revolution" and reveals that the huge deficits had no negative effect on the economy. It was the other policies of the Reagan years--high interest rates to fight inflation, supply-side tax cuts, reductions in regulation, increased advantages for investors and the wealthy, the unraveling of the safety net for the poor--that were unsuccessful in generating more rapid growth and other economic improvements.
Meeropol provides compelling evidence of the failure of the U.S. economy between 1990 and 1994 to generate rising incomes for most of the population or improvements in productivity. This caused, first, the electoral repudiation of President Bush in 1992, followed by a repudiation of President Clinton in the 1994 Congressional elections. The Clinton administration made a half-hearted attempt to reverse the Reagan Revolution in economic policy, but ultimately surrendered to the Republican Congressional majority in 1996 when Clinton promised to balance the budget by 2000 and signed the welfare reform bill. The rapid growth of the economy in 1997 caused surprisingly high government revenues, a dramatic fall in the federal budget deficit, and a brief euphoria evident in an almost uncontrollable stock market boom. Finally, Meeropol argues powerfully that the next recession, certain to come before the end of 1999, will turn the predicted path to budget balance and millennial prosperity into a painful joke on the hubris of public policymakers.
Accessibly written as a work of recent history and public policy as much as economics, this book is intended for all Americans interested in issues of economic policy, especially the budget deficit and the Clinton versus Congress debates. No specialized training in economics is needed.
"A wonderfully accessible discussion of contemporary American economic policy. Meeropol demonstrates that the Reagan-era policies of tax cuts and shredded safety nets, coupled with strident talk of balanced budgets, have been continued and even brought to fruition by the neo-liberal Clinton regime." --Frances Fox Piven, Graduate School, City University of New York
Michael Meeropol is Chair and Professor of Economics, Western New England College.
Transatlantic Policymaking in an Age of Austerity integrates the study of politics and public policy across a broad spectrum of regulatory and social welfare policies in the United States and several nations of Western Europe. The editors and a sterling list of contributors look at policymaking in the 1990s through the present—providing a comparative politics framework—stressing both parallel development and the differences between and among the nations. Similar prevailing ideas and political factors can be identified and transatlantic comparisons made—providing for a clearer understanding of the policymaking process.
Faith in regulated markets and the burden of rising welfare costs are concerns found on both sides of the Atlantic. Western democracies also share political climates colored by economic austerity; low trust in government, pressures from interest groups, and a sharply divided electorate. Because of differing political processes and differing policy starting points, a variety of disparate policy decisions have resulted.
Real world policymaking in the areas of welfare, health, labor, immigration reform, disability rights, consumer and environmental regulation, administrative reforms, and corporate governance are compared. Ultimately, the last decade is best characterized as one of "drift," sluggish changes with little real innovation and much default to the private sector. In general, policymakers on both sides of the ocean, constrained by economic necessity, have been unable to produce policy outcomes that satisfy the key segments of the electorate.
The contributors examine the United States, Great Britain, France, and Germany, as well as a number of other European countries, and study the European Union itself as a policymaking institution. Transatlantic Policymaking in an Age of Austerity distills the prominent issues, politics, and roles played by governmental institutions into a new understanding of the dynamics of policymaking in and among transatlantic nations.
Public deliberation is essential to democracy, but the public can be fooled as well as enlightened. In three case studies of media coverage in the 1990s, Benjamin Page explores the role of the press in structuring political discussion.
Page shows how the New York Times presented a restricted set of opinions on whether to go to war with Iraq, shutting out discussion of compromises favored by many Americans. He then examines the media's negative reaction to the Bush administration's claim that riots in Los Angeles were caused by welfare programs. Finally, he shows how talk shows overcame the elite media's indifference to widespread concern about Zoe Baird's hiring of illegal aliens. Page's provocative conclusion identifies the conditions under which media outlets become political actors and actively shape and limit the ideas and information available to the public.
Arguing persuasively that a diversity of viewpoints is essential to true public deliberation, this book will interest students of American politics, communications, and media studies.