Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

What Economists Learned in 2016 -- Long After Everyone Else

Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa via AP Images
Alex Milan Tracy/Sipa via AP Images Protesters gathered outside a World Affairs Council meeting on the Trans Pacific Partenership with the U.S. Ambassador to Brunei in Portland, Orgon. T his week, Bloomberg’s Noah Smith published a list of “ten excellent economics books and papers” that he read in 2016. Number three on his list was the now celebrated paper, “The China Shock: Learning from Labor-Market Adjustment to Large Changes in Trade,” by economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon Hanson. Here’s Smith’s summary of the work and its consequences: This is the paper that shook the world of economics. Looking at local data, Autor et al. found that import competition from China was devastating for American manufacturing workers. People who lost their jobs to the China Shock didn’t find new good jobs—instead, they took big permanent pay cuts or went on welfare. The authors also claim that the China Shock was so big that it reduced overall U.S. employment. This paper has thrown a huge...

What Workers -- Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian -- Need

(Photo: Sipa USA via AP)
(Photo: Sipa USA via AP) Airport workers on strike hold a protest seeking a $15 minimum wage at O'Hare International Airport in Chicago on November 29, 2016. A ll happy economies may be alike (there have been so few it’s hard to generalize), but each unhappy economy afflicts its victims differently. So it is for America’s working class, in which both minority and white workers suffer, but in different ways. Last week, Eduardo Porter’s New York Times column propounded the notion, supported by data from the Economic Cycle Research Institute, that despite the recovery of the past half-decade, whites in aggregate still had lost jobs, while minorities had gained them. When measured against the pre-recession employment high point of November 2007, the number of employed whites, Porter wrote, is now more than 700,000 below that apogee, while the number of employed Hispanics has increased by roughly three million, Asian Americans by 1.5 million, and blacks by one million. Kevin Drum at Mother...

Trump Presidency Could Kill Labor Unions

(Photo: AP/Wayne Parry)
(Photo: AP/Wayne Parry) Union members picket outside the Trump Taj Mahal casino on October 10, 2016. This article first appeared in The Washington Post . A s Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin—states that once were the stronghold of the nation’s industrial union movement—dropped into Donald Trump’s column on election night, one longtime union staff member told me that Trump’s victory was “an extinction-level event for American labor.” He may be right. A half-century ago, more than a third of those Rust Belt workers were unionized, and their unions had the clout to win them a decent wage, benefits, and pensions. Their unions also had the power to turn out the vote. They did—for Democrats. White workers who belonged to unions voted Democratic at a rate 20 percent higher than their non-union counterparts, and there were enough such workers to make a difference on Election Day. That’s not the case today. Nationally, about 7 percent of private-sector workers are union members,...

Can Cities Protect Their Immigrants from Trump?

(Photo: AP/Jeff Chiu)
(Photo: AP/Jeff Chiu) The Reverend Annie Steinberg-Behrman, right, holds a sign while listening to speakers at City Hall in San Francisco on November 14, 2016, where leaders and community activists reaffirmed the city's commitment to remaining a sanctuary city. A merica’s immigrants are not without defenses against Donald Trump’s pledge to ruin their lives, and their most powerful defenders are cities. Cities didn’t vote for Donald Trump. Virtually all of the nation’s major cities—27 of the 30 largest—are governed by Democrats. Cities are where immigrants have clustered, for the time-honored reason why immigrants go anywhere: that’s where the jobs are. Cities are where immigrants reside in sufficient numbers and density to have built political power. Many of the nation’s leading cities, including its two largest, New York and Los Angeles, are governed by progressive coalitions in which immigrant and minority groups play a major role. And cities—not states, not the federal government—...

California Stays Blue

(Photo: AP/Nick Ut)
(Photo: AP/Nick Ut) California Senator-elect Kamala Harris address the media in Los Angeles on Thursday, November 10. This story originally appeared at The Los Angeles Times . T here’s America, and then there’s California. Golden State residents know that their state is a different political animal from their nation, but just how different may not have been fully apparent until Tuesday’s election. Californians voted for Hillary Clinton at a rate (61.5 percent) higher than any other state’s, save Hawaii. They voted to extend progressive tax rates, restrict ammunition sales, legalize weed, and ban plastic bags. They appear to have given the Democrats a two-thirds supermajority in the State Assembly and perhaps, pending the final vote count in one district, a supermajority in the State Senate. Even Orange County, once the seedbed of Goldwaterism, voted Democratic in the presidential race—for the first time since Franklin Roosevelt’s landslide victory in 1936. This time around, of course...

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