The Flaws of Antitrust Policy, an Economy Still Lagging Behind, and Racialized Rules

August 25, 2017

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

1. #BreakUpAmazon

This week, the federal government gave Amazon the green light to buy Whole Foods — a dangerous merger that is set to be a done deal by Monday. Roosevelt Research Director and Fellow Marshall Steinbaum spoke with U.S. News & World Report on the issue. “Everyone who cares about a healthy economy that serves all of its stakeholders should be very afraid of the weaknesses and failures of our current antitrust policy,” he said.

2. Are We There Yet?

On Monday, Roosevelt Fellow J.W. Mason sat down with Bloomberg News to discuss the complexities that explain why the U.S. economy has yet to recover following the end of the Great Recession. Mason also challenges many standard assumptions used to justify our country’s economic reality in New York Magazine, criticizing the view that retiring Baby Boomers are the cause of a decline in workforce participation.

3. Let’s Talk NAFTA

The Atlantic asks, “What Would a Better NAFTA Look Like?” and Roosevelt Fellow Todd Tucker answers: a deal that is more robust and transparent. In Vox (and in the wake of an ever-shrinking administration), Tucker joins Matthew Yglesias in questioning President Trump’s commitment to comprehensive trade reform. Trump may have initiated the process, but it seems likely that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will take control.

4. United We Stand

With ACA repeal off the table (for now), the GOP is shifting its focus to tax reform. Democrats need to use the upcoming tax debate to advance the argument that making the very wealthy and big corporations pay their fair share of taxes is good for the economy. And with the launch of the Not One Penny campaign, left-leaning voters are ready for a fight. “Liberal groups are…expecting Democrats to stand together against any legislation that cuts taxes for the rich,” writes Elana Schor in Politico.

5. Discrimination in Sheep’s Clothing

U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos ruled against a new voter ID law described by The Texas Tribune as “the Legislature’s attempt to wriggle free of consequences after courts found fault with its 2011 ID law.” Because Senate Bill 5 (the law in question) did not address severe barriers to inclusion, voting rights advocates and minority groups supported the judge’s decision.

What We’re Reading:

In a must-read, joint piece from New York Magazine and ProPublica, Alec MacGillis looks at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, and asks if the conservative dream to shrink government is happening during Ben Carson’s tenure as HUD Secretary. “HUD has emerged as the perfect distillation of the right’s antipathy to governing,” he says. Carson shows no concern for the devastating proposals to gut his department or how they would harm the vulnerable communities (largely low-income and people of color) that depend on HUD’s programs. The rules become overtly racialized when they are written to tear down entire groups. And when those in a position of power choose inaction, they become complicit in the injustice.


The monopoly moment: Join the Roosevelt Institute and the George Washington Institute of Public Policy on Monday, September 25 in D.C. for a deep debate on antitrust. Roosevelt Research Director and Fellow Marshall Steinbaum will discuss market power, Amazon’s merger with Whole Foods, and more alongside a robust panel of other experts. Learn more or RSVP here.