The Roosevelt Rundown is an email series featuring the Roosevelt Institute’s top 5 stories of the week.
1. Bold Versus Old
On Thursday, the Roosevelt Institute teamed up with partner organizations, including Community Change, Economic Security Project, and the Hewlett Foundation, to host “Bold v. Old”—an all-day economic policy conference inspired by Tom Perriello and Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong’s Democracy Journal essay from last year on the shift in America’s political landscape. Wong interviewed Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Roosevelt Fellow Darrick Hamilton spoke with Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), and Color of Change President Rashad Robinson sat down with former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. “Change only happens when you overwhelm the system with difference,” said Abrams. Find a robust online discussion of the day here.
2. The Fifty-First State
For the first time in US history, legislation passed by the House of Representatives included an expression of support to grant statehood to Washington DC. Though the bill—an anti-corruption reform package—is unlikely to make it out of the Senate, DC’s nonvoting delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton introduced another bill this week—which received a record 201 cosponsors in the House—that would make DC the 51st state. In a new paper set for release on Monday, Roosevelt Fellow Todd N. Tucker examines America’s broken political system and explores five ways to reform the Senate—a body structured by biased rules of representation. His proposals to rebalance political power include extending statehood to DC and Puerto Rico.
3. Expanding the Bench
Speaking of Roosevelt Fellow Todd N. Tucker, Washington Post’s Michael Scherer reached out to him for a comment this week, as the idea to add more justices to the Supreme Court gains traction on the left. “It’s the existential democratic issues [like justice and equality] that provide the most principled basis” for the push to pack the Supreme Court, said Tucker. Released last November, Tucker explains in Off-Balance: Five Strategies for a Judiciary that Supports Democracy why expanding the court is one way to revive democracy and restore public confidence. “Having only nine voices to set the priorities for 328 million Americans limits the diversity of perspectives that the justices consider,” he wrote.
4. What Do Cows Have to Do with the GND?
Architects of the Green New Deal (GND) are aiming to reach zero emissions by 2030. To do that, factory farmers will have to rethink their operations. “Agriculture is responsible for one-quarter of global greenhouse gas pollution,” writes Bloomberg’s Katia Dmitrieva. “If they want to keep eating meat, the New Dealers say Americans will have to rethink how it gets on their plate and what it costs.” After crunching the numbers on a methane tax for the sector, Roosevelt Fellow Mark Paul explained to Dmitrieva why GND proponents aren’t actually trying to disrupt carnivores’ lives: “It’s not about coming for burgers or specific food groups. It’s about transforming our agriculture and recognizing the planetary limit.”
5. Market Power Is Everywhere
For MarketWatch, Roosevelt Senior Economist Joseph E. Stiglitz writes on the growing market power of a few corporate behemoths and explains why it is stunting the American economy. Ultimately, in exploring the crucial need to revive America’s antitrust regime, Stiglitz underscores why this challenge is political. “The law needs to catch up. Anti-competitive practices should be illegal, period. And beyond that, there are a host of other changes needed to modernize US antitrust legislation,” he writes. “Americans need the same resolve in fighting for competition that their corporations have shown in fighting against it.”
What We’re Watching
Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) grilled Kathy Kraninger, the Trump-appointed director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), during a recent House Financial Services Committee hearing. Not only did Porter ask Kraninger to define the annual percentage rate (APR), which is charged to consumers who take out loans—which Kraninger could not do—but Porter also asked her to calculate it from a simple hypothetical—which Kraninger also could not do. “And she’s supposed to be the top government official protecting consumers from predatory lending practices?” asked Porter on Twitter.