Michael Grunwald

Michael Grunwald, who first visited Indianapolis as a national correspondent for the Boston Globe, now covers the Justice Department for the Washington Post.

Recent Articles

How She Got a Job

Everyone who participates in this innovative welfare-to-work program finds steady employment. Too bad it's precisely the kind of effort that the new federal welfare law discourages.

M iriam Rodriguez lived the welfare life, 15 empty years of soaps and snacks and midday walks to nowhere. Every day she changed the diapers, cleaned the apartment, washed the dishes, cleaned the apartment again, and every day she knew tomorrow would not be another day, but the same day. Still, the routine had its charms: $1,018 a month in cash and food stamps, complete health benefits for her and her four kids, affordable public housing. She had grown up with nothing, no money and no plumbing, sharing a single dingy bedroom with both her parents and all six of her siblings. Now she had a family's best friend: steady money. And an absurdly clean apartment. But Rodriguez left that life behind. She now works full-time as a records clerk for Coopers & Lybrand in downtown Boston, processing forms, answering phones, entering tax data into computers. It is her first job since 1981, when she was fired from a textile factory, after quitting a job as a nurse's aide. So far, it's working out...

The Myth of the Supermayor

A new breed of supermayor is supposed to be revitalizing the nation's cities. So let's visit the city and mayor often held up these days as a model for America.

The national media have proclaimed a new conventional wisdom for the city formerly known as Nap Town: this is now the Golden Age of Indianapolis, and Stephen Goldsmith is the mayor with the Midas touch. He may not be as well known as Rudy Giuliani of New York, Richard Riordan of Los Angeles, or even Ed Rendell of Philadelphia, but he has become the official prototype for the New Breed of Urban Mayors, those paragons of pragmatism who are reviving America's cities, rolling up their sleeves and reinventing municipal government. Governing magazine paid the ultimate tribute, naming Goldsmith its 1995 Public Official of the Year. But he has also been canonized by columnists ranging from William Raspberry to David Broder to George Will, by magazines including Time , Newsweek , Forbes , and the New Republic , by newspapers like the New York Times , the Wall Street Journal , the Washington Post , and even the Jerusalem Post and Asahi Shimbun of Tokyo. Most of the accolades have been aimed at...