October 06, 1997
John Sweeney's name rarely appears in print without the word "militant" attached to it. Sweeney first gained national prominence in 1995, when, as president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), he led striking janitors in a sit-in that blocked morning rush-hour traffic on Washington, D.C.'s Fourteenth Street Bridge for two hours. Later that year, Sweeney burnished his reputation as a confrontationalist by running (and winning) an insurgent campaign in the first-ever contested election for the presidency of the AFLl-CIO. Heavy-set and balding, Sweeney comes across like central c
Hud Sucker Proxy
June 23, 1997
Upon hearing that I was planning to write about the proposed changes in federal housing policy, a press secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development graciously offered me an interview with the secretary, Andrew Cuomo. This was slightly odd. It's usually the reporter's job in these matters to solicit access to the Cabinet secretary and the flack's job to deny it. And I am the sort of reporter who quite properly would be denied; the story I wanted to write, examining public policy, didn't require access to anyone so grand as a member of the Cabinet.
The Contract with K Street
December 04, 1995
When 367 Republican House candidates signed the Contract with America on September 27, 1994, they pledged to create "a Congress that is doing what the American people want and doing it in a way that instills trust." As they stood on the steps of the Capitol, Texas Representative Dick Armey declared, "[W]e enter a new era in American government. Today one political party is listening to the concerns of the American people, and we are responding with specific legislation.
The Budget Inferno
May 29, 1995
In Dante's Divine Comedy, an imperfect order prevails amid the smoky chaos of the Inferno. The denizens of the Inferno dwell in their specific regions alongside others who suffer for similar earthly sins. As you descend through the progressively darker, murkier air of the nine circles of Hell, the population of each group of sinners decreases, while the evil of their sins increases. Which brings to mind the federal budget. Seriously. Dante's Inferno is an apt analogy for the ways in which the federal government subsidizes and enriches corporations, industries and people. In Washington's Infer
January 02, 1995
"Let me begin," says White House aide David Dreyer, "by contesting the premises of your question." It's a windless evening in November, and Dreyer is in his West Wing office, listening to a new recording of Bach's Well-Tempered Clavier and defending the role of Tony Coelho, for whom Dreyer once worked, in the Democrats' electoral debacle. "First," he says, "Tony was not the party chair. He was never, to my knowledge, actually in the dnc building. Second, the role of party chair in a midterm election is relatively unimportant anyhow.
February 07, 1994
If these facts surprise you, it's because you haven't been given a straight story about the Clinton health bill. Take two examples: on November 4, Leon Panetta, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, testified to senators that the bill does not "set prices" and "draw up rules for allocating care"; a month later Hillary Rodham Clinton assured a Boston audience that the government will not limit what you can pay your doctor.
August 09, 1993
United We Stand: How We Can Take Back Our Country by Ross Perot (Hyperion, 115 pp., $4.95 paper) Not for Sale at Any Price: How We Can Save America for Our Children by Ross Perot (Hyperion, 158 pp., $5.95 paper) On November 7, 1969, a week before the huge antiwar moratorium demonstrations, The New York Times ran a full-page advertisement in support of the Nixon administration's policy in Vietnam. A similar advertisement appeared two days later; and then, on November 15, the Times reported that the pro-Nixon advertisers had blanketed the country with 25 million postcards backing the president,
Let's Start Over
March 02, 1992
At least credit Richard Darman for creative accounting in managing to squeeze the new White House budget into the spending categories and constraints of the 1990 budget agreement. But his efforts were doomed from the start; the agreement is obsolete, and everyone knows it. It was cobbled together before the cold war ended and before the recession started.
July 08, 1967
Middleman Percy If the people are in a mood to take “anybody but Johnson” next year, anybody will do as his opponent. But the Republicans would be playing a very long shot were they to take it for granted that frustrations over Vietnam, grumblings on the farm, or plain distrust of Lyndon Johnson will put them back in the White House, regardless. Somebody would have a better chance than anybody. But none of the somebodys so far has caught the popular fancy. Romney the Rambler is slipping. Rockefeller the Divorced has other problems, Nixon is a has-been.
Why We Need Medicare
December 26, 1964
Today there are 15 million Americans over 65; by 1970 there will be 17 million. They need more doctoring than the majority of us; they are more prone to suffer from degenerative diseases affecting the heart, lungs, digestive tract and arteries. Treatment of those diseases tends to be prolonged and expensive. An average American couple over the age of 65 typically spends $312 a year on medical expenses other than hospitalization; and in any year the typical elderly individual has a 13-percent chance of being hospitalized.