Ruy Teixeira

Ruy Teixeira is a senior fellow and co-director of the Progressive Studies Program at the Center for American Progress.

Recent Articles

Happy with Health Care?

The American Association of Health Plans (AAHP)—the main HMO trade association—has a novel strategy for persuading Congress not to take patients' rights seriously. Rather than arguing with polling data that shows broad public support for tough HMO regulation, they point to other polling data showing that Americans are basically satisfied with managed care plans. Therefore, not to worry, say the lobbyists at AAHP; the whole thing will blow over and legislators can get away with avoiding the issue. Well, so far, not so good. Last month, the House passed a stringent HMO bill, with the support of 60 Republicans and almost every Democrat, that makes it easier for patients to visit doctors they prefer, get emergency-room bills paid, and receive experimental treatments, as well as making it substantially easier to sue HMOs (the provision of the bill most strenuously opposed by AAHP). Evidently, House lawmakers were not convinced they could get away with ducking the issue, despite the AAHP's...

As the Left Turns

After Progress: American Social Reform and European Socialism in the Twentieth Century, Norman Birnbaum. Oxford University Press, 432 pages, $35.00. Many of those on the notoriously parochial American left have only a superficial understanding of the history of social movements in other countries. For these people (and you know who you are), Norman Birnbaum's superb new book, After Progress, could be a godsend. Birnbaum presents the key events and players in left movements of the twentieth century in a way that helps us understand their importance. Readers get the basics of the left's history not just in the United States, but in Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. All this without having to wade through a forbidding tome like Donald Sassoon's recent One Hundred Years of Socialism --a fine book in its own right, but, at 965 pages of small type, a bit more than most readers might want to contend with. After Progress is an elegantly written and thoroughly researched work...

The Myth of the Coming Labor Shortage

According to the Department of Labor, the demand for higher skills is rising rapidly, while the “quality” of America’s workforce is declining. Neither assertion is true, but the mythology is steering policymakers in the wrong direction, away from efforts to upgrade jobs.

Recent discussions of the future of work and employment have assumed a coming "labor shortage," as well as a "skills mismatch" between the characteristics of American workers and the needs of employers. This view has been widely propagated by the Department of Labor under Presidents Reagan and Bush. As Elizabeth Dole put it while she was Secretary of Labor, "America faces a work force crisis" because there are a diminishing number of people eligible and qualified "for the ever-increasing complexity of jobs in our economy." This view draws heavily on the widely disseminated Workforce 2000 report, prepared by the Hudson Institute for the Department of Labor. At bottom, here is the thesis: Rapid growth of high-skilled professional and technical occupations and the service sector is said to be increasing the demand for workers of higher skill. But because of slow labor force growth and the dominance of minorities and women among labor force entrants, the pool of new workers is shrinking,...