Harold Meyerson

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

Recent Articles

The Vapid Defense of Share Buybacks

AP Photo/Richard Drew, File
AP Photo/Richard Drew, File The logo for 3M appears on a screen above the trading floor of the New York Stock Exchange T his past Sunday , with the share buybacks of American corporations at an all-time high, The Washington Post business section ran a major piece documenting buybacks’ rise and giving the arguments for and against the practice. And the arguments for, I’m compelled to say, look mighty flimsy. Those arguments have never been more important, since the Republican tax cut supercharged the irresistible force (greed) that compels CEOs to authorize buybacks—as their pay is commonly linked to the share values that buybacks inflate. And “supercharged” may be understating it: “In February alone,” the Post reported, “U.S. corporations announced a record $150.7 billion in buybacks.” The problem with buybacks—the problem their defenders are obliged to address—is that they simply funnel corporate profits into shareholders' pockets rather than into investment. The defenders’ argument...

A Tale of Two Labor Movements

(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong) State Senator Kevin de León shakes hands with supporters during an event held to formally announce his run for U.S. Senate on October 18, 2017, in Los Angeles. L ast Thursday, the more than 500 delegates to the convention of the California Labor Federation—the state’s AFL-CIO—voted to endorse liberal Democratic State Senator Kevin de León’s insurgent and uphill bid to unseat longtime incumbent Senator Dianne Feinstein, whom the federation had supported in all her previous U.S. Senate elections, dating back to 1992. Coming from a pillar of the state’s Democratic establishment, the endorsement—which required a two-thirds vote of the delegates—was a stunning development. The following day, the leaders of New York’s progressive unions announced that they were severing ties with the state’s Working Families Party—an organization that many of those unions had founded and supported, and that has backed, with notable success, a range of pro-labor progressive candidates...

What the Teacher Strikes Mean

(AP Photo/Adam Beam)
(AP Photo/Adam Beam) Su Sheridan holds a sign protesting proposed cuts to retirement benefits for public school teachers on March 8, 2018 in Frankfort, Kentucky. trickle-downers_35.jpg A round seven years ago, I had a standard wisecrack to explain the standing of workers in the world’s two dominant economies: “China has strikes but no unions; America has unions but no strikes.” Seven years later, it’s clear we’re becoming more like China every day. The remarkable upsurge of teachers in Republic-run, largely non-union states that has swept through West Virginia and is now sweeping through Oklahoma and Kentucky, and is poised to descend on Arizona, has returned the mass strike to the United States after decades of relegation to the history books. In each of these states, the teachers unions have something between limited and no legal rights to bargain collectively, and, correspondingly, represent just a hard core of members whose commitment to their union is more a matter of belief than...

What Now for Unions?

Chris Dorst/Charleston Gazette-Mail via AP Striking teachers grasp hands during a rally at the West Virginia Capitol in Charleston This article appears in the Spring 2018 issue of The American Prospect magazine. Subscribe here . F or conservatives, the much-anticipated Supreme Court decision in the Janus v. AFSCME case may be coming eight years too late. If, as expected, the five Republican justices on the Court rule for the plaintiff, which would end public employee unions’ ability to collect dues from all the workers they represent, they will significantly weaken the nation’s largest unions, among them the two teachers unions, as well as AFSCME and SEIU. These are also among the most significant organizations in Democrats’ voter-mobilization programs and, more generally, in supporting progressive groups and causes. Even more fundamentally, the right plainly hopes such a ruling will also drive the final nail into the coffin of the American labor movement. While a pro- Janus ruling...

National Security Agencies Have Spoken: Private Equity Ownership Imperils America

(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) Blackstone Group CEO Stephen Schwarzman attends a panel during the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on January 23, 2018. B y the normal standards of U.S. national security, the government’s ruling on Tuesday to delay and potentially derail the acquisition of high-tech company Qualcomm by the Singaporean company Broadcom was startlingly smart and gobsmackingly wonderful. It was smart because it extended its definition of U.S. security interests to maintaining our advantage in the development of the most advanced forms of technology, in this case, the 5G communications systems that will be critical to both driverless cars and network security in coming decades. The government’s Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS for short) wrote that it feared that if Qualcomm, the nation’s leading developer of 5G technology, were purchased by Broadcom, its research would suffer and a Chinese high-tech company, Huawei, would likely surge...

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