The Roosevelt Rundown is an email series featuring the Roosevelt Institute’s top 5 stories of the week.
1. New Rules for the 21st Century
Americans from across the political spectrum are demanding an explanation of why our economy and democracy are working for so few. On Wednesday, April 10, the Roosevelt Institute will be joined by former Georgia state representative Stacey Abrams and other progressive leaders in Washington DC for the launch of a new Roosevelt report. We’ll share a new progressive worldview that both answers key questions in today’s public debates but also offers a new approach to politics and policymaking that meets the moment—one that requires transformational change. Learn more about the event and RSVP today.
2. How to Pay for the Public Sector
From unaffordable housing, to inadequate access to health care, to extreme income and wealth inequality, to the existential crisis of climate change, the US faces many urgent problems that call for a substantially expanded, more active public sector. In a new issue brief, Roosevelt Fellow J.W. Mason argues that when answering the question of “How do we pay for it?” one actually makes the case for an expanded public sector—not against it. Mason lifts nine key arguments, which are linked by one critical point: The federal government not only has unique advantages in providing many goods and services, but it also has unique advantages in paying for them.
3. A Woman’s Job Is Never Done
Every year during Women’s History Month, we celebrate the strides that women have made. In the fight for dignity and equity on the job, the government has played a crucial—albeit imperfect—role in ensuring that women today are better off than past generations. On the blog, Roosevelt Program Associate Jess Forden explains how we can invest in all women workers in the 21st century. “To start, policymakers should use government power to bring historically excluded groups into the folds of labor law,” writes Forden. “But it shouldn’t stop there. It is past time that America … guarantee[s] that women can prosper in all jobs: public, private, and at home.”
4. Fixing Worker Misclassification
Uber and Lyft are going public, and both companies’ initial public offerings (IPOs) will include employee ownership programs. In her latest column for Forbes, Roosevelt Fellow Rakeen Mabud explains why worker misclassification will prevent drivers—who, classified as contractors, are not protected by labor law or given benefits—from having any real decision-making power: “If Uber and Lyft truly want to do right by the drivers [who] work for them, they could do what they have resisted until now: call their drivers employees. At the moment, the jobs of the future, many of which are contractual arrangements, are precarious and exploitative—but they don’t need to be.”
5. Shrinking the Racial Wealth Gap
Roosevelt Fellow Darrick Hamilton sat down with the Urban Institute’s Loren Berlin to discuss wealth in America and the idea behind baby bonds, or trust accounts that would be given to all children in the US at birth. “Baby bonds emphasize establishing and growing assets because assets are critical to building wealth. In other words, wealth begets more wealth. It is iterative. In order to accumulate more wealth, you need some capital,” said Hamilton. “I’m making the case that, despite rhetoric, the free market won’t accommodate everyone, even if they study and work hard. I’m arguing that it is wealth that gives you freedom, choice, and optionality.”
What We’re Watching
Tonight at 8pm EST, Roosevelt Fellows J.W. Mason and Mark Paul will join Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and others for a Green New Deal town hall from the Bronx—“…because a better future starts from the bottom up,” tweeted Ocasio-Cortez. Tune in to All In with Chris Hayes on MSNBC to watch live!