Tilted to the Top, Victory in Alabama, and the Fight for #NetNeutrality

December 15, 2017

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

1. Tilted to the Top

The World Inequality Lab released the 2018 World Inequality Report, which measures income and wealth disparities across the globe. Quoting the report, Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong tweeted: “Economic inequality is largely driven by the unequal ownership of capital.” The GOP tax plan is the latest incarnation of this problem: a rigged system that gives more wealth and power to the very few and deepens economic inequality in the U.S. “The result would be not a vastly bigger, stronger economy, but one more tilted towards the rich,” writes Annie Lowrey about the tax plan for The Atlantic. As Roosevelt Fellow Michael Linden points out, this is not over. The tax fight will continue into next week—and it’s crucial to remind Congress what’s at stake.

2. Victory in Alabama

On Tuesday, Alabama voters elected a Democrat to the United States Senate—something they haven’t done in nearly a quarter of a century. Considered a long shot in the South, especially in the era of Trump, Doug Jones’s victory was a triumph for progressives and a “long-awaited rejection of the divisive brand of politics” that has commanded the state for decades. The New York Times covers four key takeaways from the race, including the vital role African-Americans played in the election; “Black voters turned out in force.” Democrats, including Jones, should now turn to the business of building a more inclusive economy that benefits all Americans, including communities of color. The senator-elect’s background in racial justice is a promising indication of what’s ahead.

3. There Goes the Internet

In a “sweeping act of deregulation,” the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) repealed the rules that ensure a fair and open internet yesterday. FCC Commissioner Mignon Clyburn described Thursday’s vote as “handing the keys to the internet to a handful of multi-billion [dollar] corporations.” As CNN reported, the telecoms industry was a key proponent of the repeal. Yesterday’s “misguided action” gives broadband providers “extraordinary new powers,” said FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel. “They will have the power to block websites, the power to throttle services, and the power to censor online content.” To curb rising monopoly power and protect our “fourth utility,” Congress should stand with Americans (rather than corporations) and overrule the FCC’s ruling.

4. Barriers at Birth

The sole public hospital in D.C. is permanently closing its maternity ward. This leaves a “broad section of the nation’s capital east of the Anacostia River without a hospital where women can give birth and seek prenatal care,” explains WaPo’s Peter Jamison. D.C. Council Health Committee Chairman Vincent C. Gray shines a light on the decision for The Root“It says that, in terms of the allocation and equity of services, the people on the East End of the city are seen as not sufficiently worthy to have available to them one of the most important services a population can have,” he said.

5. A Generational Disadvantage

In an ingenious piece for HuffPost, Michael Hobbes explains why “millennials are facing the scariest financial future of any generation since the Great Depression.” The article’s innovative design is an ironic contrast to the grim reporting. “Salaries have stagnated and entire sectors have cratered. At the same time, the cost of every prerequisite of a secure existence—education, housing and health care—has inflated into the stratosphere.” From the grip of market power to the shrinking support for public goods, making opportunity attainable again will require rewriting the rules for this generation—and the next.

What We’re Reading:

In his new book, The Last 100 Days: FDR at War and at Peace, Roosevelt Fellow David B. Woolner provides an in-depth look at the accomplishments and dedication of President Franklin D. Roosevelt towards the end of his life. Despite his declining health, FDR was committed to ending the second World War and building peace for the American people after. “This is one of the most compelling periods in his life,” says Woolner. Get your copy here.

What We’re Watching:

From power and identity to education and culture, the Boston Globe Spotlight Team takes on race in a new six-part series that examines the reality of racism in one of our nation’s oldest cities. With stunning visuals and groundbreaking, dynamic narratives, Boston. Racism. Image. Reality.” is a must-read and must-watch report.