A Call to Action, the Future of Work, and Protecting the Rules

August 18, 2017

The Roosevelt Rundown is an email series featuring the Roosevelt Institute’s top 5 stories of the week.

1. Being Angry is Not Enough

Roosevelt Research Director and Fellow Marshall Steinbaum describes Democracy in Chains as “the book that explains Charlottesville.” Written by Nancy MacLean, the exposé connects the ways in which the recent rise of white supremacy is supported by longstanding structures and systems that promote inequality and discrimination. Many Americans have denounced domestic terrorism, but words without action can’t fix the rules.

2. Welfare Myths and Racial Injustice

In an op-ed for Teen Vogue, Roosevelt Program Director Rakeen Mabud and Fellow Andrea Flynn tackle the “pulling yourself up by your boot straps” myth. In the current political landscape, it is more crucial than ever to dismantle decades-old rhetoric — rhetoric predominantly aimed at people of color — that erases the reality of what it means to be poor in America and what it takes to get ahead.

3. The Future of Work — No Strings Attached

Universal basic income is a simple idea connected to complex possibilities. In The Nation, Michelle Chen dives into the data, including analysis from Roosevelt’s report on the behavioral effects of a basic income, written by economist Ioana Marinescu, and reveals the “positive impact of a social wage.” Income without conditions — including the requirement of work — has the potential to improve our country’s overall economic well-being and even health outcomes. Chen also raises key questions about implementing UBI, including how governments will balance financing it while maintaining existing social welfare responsibilities.

4. Trump’s Effort to Weaken the Rules

President Trump has his eyes set on financial deregulation, including targeting the protections the Dodd-Frank law provides. With its agenda stalled in Congress, the Trump administration is laying the groundwork to weaken regulations that protect Americans from an unregulated Wall Street.

5. Taking Cover in the Chaos

Although former White House Chief Strategist Steven Bannon (whose ouster was reported earlier today) is no longer by the president’s side, his comments from earlier this week are still worth reading. An unrepentant Bannon spoke with Robert Kuttner (possibly after Bannon separated from the White House, according to some reports) on his efforts to proceed with reckless trade sanctions, as well as his views on a range of other topics.

What We’re Reading:

In Vox, Dylan Matthews addresses internalized racism and its power in politics. And Jamelle Bouie in Slate explains how former president Ulysses S. Grant became overshadowed by the man who led — and lost — the Civil War.

What We’re Watching:

“I’d rather have my child, but by golly, if I gotta to give her up, we’re gonna make it count.” On Wednesday, Susan Bro — the mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed while protesting white supremacists in Charlottesville — delivered an unforgettable eulogy condemning injustice and calling for ‘righteous action’ as the path forward. “You make it happen. You take that extra step. You find a way to make a difference in the world.”