Cover Story: Who’s Better Off?

We offer a different view of the state of the union, and a twist on Ronald Reagan’s memorable line from 1980.


$In Search of Common Ground

Why do we stand by as jobs vanish, schools deteriorate, and health care becomes a luxury? In an age of individualism, maybe we’ve simply decided nothing much matters—except ourselves.

$Class Dismissed

No more teachers, no more books. In Oregon and elsewhere, a combination of budget cuts, federal underfunding, and a Dick Armey-led tax revolt are devastating the schools.

P L U S :

Reading, Writing, and Landscaping

How teachers make ends meet

$Whose Hospital Is It?

In the brutal economics of today’s health care business, there
may no longer be room for institutions like Philadelphia’s MCP Hospital—or for the communities
they serve.

$Contracts with America

From Iraq to homeland security, the Bush administration is turning over crucial government jobs to private contractors— including the task of policing
the contracts.

$Stats of the Union
Painting America, by the numbers

$Losing Friends & Alienating People

Career diplomats weigh in on the Bush foreign-policy record. And the verdict is sobering.

$The End of Empire

Rather than launching a U.S. quest to remake the Middle East, Iraq may signal the end of the neoconservatives’ grand vision.

$One Liberty at a Time

As go the rights of Padilla, Hamdi, and the other detainees, so go the rights of us all.


Editor’s Note

Is the Pentagon pushing pathogens?; the quotable Mr. Byrd; one widow’s year of lobbying dangerously; misadventures of a middle Shrub; Medicare’s new Golden Rule; and a Hellraiser who brings low power to the people

The Radio Flyer goes off-road; plus playing with the president

$The No-Exit Strategy

Four honest lessons from the war

$The Stump Speech

I Am the President,
I Speak for the Trees

For their God and country?

Chips off “The Rock”

Debra J. Dickerson reviews the human fallout of New York’s drug-sentencing laws; truth
teller Billy Bragg on Bush, Blair, and American Idol
; plus more book, music, and film reviews

Resources for getting involved

Fancy Footwear
Cartoon by Greg Clarke