Richard Rothstein

Richard Rothstein is a Prospect contributing editor, a research associate at the Economic Policy Institute, and senior fellow at the Chief Justice Earl Warren Institute on Law and Social Policy at U.C. Berkeley School of Law.

Recent Articles

Vouchers in Court

On December 11, 2000, in a decision now headed to the Supreme Court, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the voucher program in Cleveland, Ohio, violates the separation of church and state. The program provides tuition vouchers of $2,500 for low-income children to attend private schools. Over fourth-fifths of the students who benefit attend religious schools, and most of these are Catholic. In a bitter dissent, Judge James L. Ryan said the majority decision "sentenc[es] nearly 4,000 poverty-level, mostly minority, children in Cleveland to return to the indisputably failed Cleveland public schools."

Continental Drift: NAFTA and Its Aftershocks

The trade problem is much bigger than the treaty.

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is a

symbol of Mexico's incorporation into the U.S. economy as a low-wage

manufacturing center. This economic integration will drive down wages,

employment, and living standards, while rolling back environmental regulations

in the United States as well as in Mexico. But NAFTA is only a symbol: the

low-wage approach to economic integration continues apace with or without NAFTA.

The treaty was mainly designed not to promote economic changes (which were

happening anyway) but to improve the domestic political fortunes of Presidents

Bush and Salinas. However, many Americans appropriately concerned about

The Left's Obsessive Opposition

My liberal friends are being too hard on Bill Clinton. His mandate and congressional majority are wafer thin, and he's doing well with what he has. Would you rather have George Bush?

My liberal friends are being too harsh on Bill Clinton. I am not uncritical of administration policies: I have objected in print to its overemphasis on human capital as an economic cure and to its reluctance to embrace forthrightly the labor movement. I believe its NAFTA side agreements don't go nearly as far as they should. Still, I admire the Clinton administration. I credit its good faith and basic progressivism and fear that the increasingly sour tone of the liberal left will only backfire.

Friends of Bill? Why Liberals Should Let Up on Clinton

In Clinton's first two years, myopic liberals complained about his compromises and disparaged his accomplishments. Now there will be fewer accomplishments and bigger compromises. Insisting on purity could only make things worse.

Following the midterm election debacle, the conventional liberal wisdom is that Bill Clinton should now follow Harry Truman's strategy: refuse to move to the center in an attempt to find moderate votes for a watered-down agenda and instead confront the Republican majority with populist attacks on a "do-nothing Congress."

Toward a More Perfect Union: New Labor's Hard Road

The labor movement has new life, but faces immense obstacles. Here's what it can accomplish.

No single strategy can reverse a 20-year decline in
average wages and its threat to our postwar pattern of broadly distributed
prosperity. But it's hard to imagine a successful set of policies that doesn't
include a revival of labor unions. With the election of John Sweeney as AFL-CIO
president, and a fresh commitment to organizing, many union supporters (inside
and out of the labor movement) are newly optimistic. However, the obstacles
remain daunting.