All The News That's Fit to Steal

In December of last year, Monthly Review magazine, of which I am Associate Editor, published an article by Jim Straub titled “Braddock, Pennsylvania: Out of the Furnace and into the Fire.” In his essay, Jim told the story of one of the nation’s most devastated industrial towns. He described how this once famous steel city, […]

Ain't That America . . .

First, an update on wage theft. Celebrity chef Bobby Flay has joined Tom Colicchio as a defendant in a class action lawsuit charging wage theft. This suit was filed on January 16, 2009 by the same law firm that initiated the Colicchio class action. Flay’s enterprises are under the umbrella of the firm Bold Foods […]

Was the 1982 Recession Worse than Today's?: Some Comments

I always told my students that it is necessary to examine many statistics to understand what is going on in the economy. The growth of the Gross Domestic Product (roughly our total yearly production) is often used as a measure of the economy’s health. However, the GDP could be growing rapidly, while the growth could […]

The Employee Free Choice Act

Note: Parts of this are taken from the new edition of my book, Why Unions Matter, which will be published by Monthly Review Press next month.   Labor unions have been on the ropes in the United States for many years. In 2007, union density (the share of employed workers in unions) was around 12 […]

Tom Colicchio: Top Chef or Top (Wage) Thief?

We have watched hundreds of cooking shows on television. One of our early favorites was Top Chef, in which a group of talented cooks compete in an elimination format for a large monetary prize and designation as “Top Chef.” The chief judge on the show is Tom Colicchio, a noted chef who has won five […]


My father took me to one movie, in 1957, when I was eleven years old. Our small town had two movie theaters then, the Roxy and the Ford, but we went to the State, in the larger town three miles north. This might not seem worth noting, but back then a trip to Kittanning, with […]

Tucson: the Desert "Civilized"

We’ve been living in Tucson, Arizona, for nearly a year. We came in January to escape the winter, planning to stay for two or three months and then move somewhere else, maybe Boulder, Portland (for a second time), or Berkeley. But family matters forced us to stay in the desert. Tucson is a typical city […]

Appendix to cheap motels and a hot plate

The original draft of the book had the following appendix. We decided not to use it. An abridged version has been published at Do you think I should have included it in the book? We Meet an Economist Karen and I were hiking in Santa Fe, New Mexico, on the Atalaya Mountain Trail, which […]

Alan Greenspan: Class Warrior

[Note: This first appeared in Counterpunch at It is based upon a story in the book.] Alan Greenspan’s new memoir has put his tenure as Federal Reserve chairman on the hot seat, as critics ask whether he bears responsibility for the housing bubble and for his failure to vocally reject the Bush tax cuts. […]

The injuries of class

One of the themes of Cheap Motels and a Hot Plate is work. More specifically the theme is dead-end work, how there is so much of this in the United States. Work has always been something that has interested me; I taught about, and for years I scrutinized my own labor. Now for a few […]