Paul Starr

Paul Starr is co-founder and co-editor of the The American Prospect. and professor of sociology and public affairs at Princeton University. A winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction and the Bancroft Prize in American history, he is the author of seven books, including most recently Remedy and Reaction: The Peculiar American Struggle over Heath Care Reform (Yale University Press, revised ed. 2013). Click here to read more about Starr.

Recent Articles

Letting Go of Iraq

The establishment of a pro-Iranian, Islamic government in Iraq was not exactly what the Bush administration told us to expect from the war. But it may well be the result, and I am beginning to think that there is nothing that the United States can or should do about it -- except to disengage from Iraq on an expeditious timetable. As I write, we are a week away from the August 15 deadline for a draft of the new Iraqi constitution, with no break yet in the long-running deadlock among Iraq's major factions over such issues as federalism. Assuming they do reach a compromise, however, the constitution is likely to include provisions for Islamic law that reduce the rights that women enjoyed even under Saddam Hussein. According to early reports about the structure of the new parliament, it's also likely that when elections are held in December, they will give the pro-Iranian Shia religious parties at least as much power as they won in the last elections, and probably more. What, then, will...

End of the Private New Deal

A ripple of economic anxiety passed through middle America this spring when a bankrupt United Airlines ditched its pension obligations and General Motors announced it would cut 25,000 jobs. That's capitalism, you may say: Individual companies rise and fall, and America's prosperity should never be equated with their fortunes. But United's abandonment of its pensions and GM's deepening troubles highlight a larger worry that ought to be a focus of our politics. The old corporate America that took responsibility for workers' pensions and health care is dying, and the nation's political leadership has hardly taken notice of the implications. The rise of corporate social protection had a huge impact, and so will its decline. Conservatives long touted employer-provided pensions and health plans as the private alternative to big government -- the very epitome, supposedly, of the American way. Liberals were ambivalent: Although employer benefits provided security for many workers, especially...

End of the Private New Deal

A ripple of economic anxiety passed through middle America this spring when a bankrupt United Airlines ditched its pension obligations and General Motors announced it would cut 25,000 jobs. That's capitalism, you may say: Individual companies rise and fall, and America's prosperity should never be equated with their fortunes. But United's abandonment of its pensions and GM's deepening troubles highlight a larger worry that ought to be a focus of our politics. The old corporate America that took responsibility for workers' pensions and health care is dying, and the nation's political leadership has hardly taken notice of the implications. The rise of corporate social protection had a huge impact, and so will its decline. Conservatives long touted employer-provided pensions and health plans as the private alternative to big government -- the very epitome, supposedly, of the American way. Liberals were ambivalent: Although employer benefits provided security for many workers, especially...

The Liberal Project Now

Liberalism is at greater risk now than at any time in recent American history. The risk is of political marginality, even irrelevance. And the reason is not just a shift in partisan control of the federal government. There has been a radical change in the relationship of ideology and power in America. Only by renewing both the principled commitments to liberal ideals and the practical basis of liberal politics does liberalism have any chance of recovery. Fifty years ago, the absence of ideological divisions was widely thought to be one of the distinguishing features of American politics. Now our politics is rife with ideological conflict, as conservatives take their crusade to remake America deeper into liberal terrain. The issue is no longer, as it was in the earlier stages of conservatism's revival, merely a reversal of Great Society programs and the activism of the Warren Court. What's now under attack are such basic constitutional principles as church-state separation and an...

The Liberal Project Now

Liberalism is at greater risk now than at any time in recent American history. The risk is of political marginality, even irrelevance. And the reason is not just a shift in partisan control of the federal government. There has been a radical change in the relationship of ideology and power in America. Only by renewing both the principled commitments to liberal ideals and the practical basis of liberal politics does liberalism have any chance of recovery. Fifty years ago, the absence of ideological divisions was widely thought to be one of the distinguishing features of American politics. Now our politics is rife with ideological conflict, as conservatives take their crusade to remake America deeper into liberal terrain. The issue is no longer, as it was in the earlier stages of conservatism's revival, merely a reversal of Great Society programs and the activism of the Warren Court. What's now under attack are such basic constitutional principles as church-state separation and an...

Pages