Protecting Dodd-Frank, Strengthening Antitrust for Workers, and Holding Corporations Accountable

March 2, 2018

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

1. The Latest Assault on Dodd-Frank

The Trump administration is actively building a scam economy, putting banks first and leaving consumers at risk. Vox reviews the ongoing attempts to dismantle the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), with a key takeaway from Roosevelt Program Director Katy Milani: “It really demonstrates that this is an administration that does not care about consumers.” Next week, the Senate is expected to vote on a bill that will undo key financial regulations of Dodd-Frank which were designed to protect banking consumers and the economy at large. This under-the-radar rewrite of banking rules is a handout to Wall Street. Progressives would be wrong not to push back.  

2. Workers Are Trapped

In “Corporate America Is Suppressing Wages for Many Workers,” researchers Alan B. Krueger and Eric Posner examine how corporate consolidation holds workers back. The authors not only discuss this dynamic, known as labor market monopsony, but also call on the government to address it. As Roosevelt Research Director Marshall Steinbaum explains in The Washington Postending “no-poaching” agreements—contracts through which companies agree not to hire workers from their competitors—is a simple and effective way to strengthen antitrust policy and curb corporate behavior that hinders healthy competition in the labor market. As the article notes, some policymakers, including Senators Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), are listening.

3. Holding Corporations Accountable

Organizations like Color of Change have long shown that everyday people have the power to make companies address social issues. In the wake of the recent tragedy in Parkland, Florida, companies nationwide are responding to the youth-led gun reform movement by rewriting their own rules. So far, mega-corporations, including Walmart and Dick’s Sporting Goods, have raised the minimum age required to purchase a gun within their stores. And a string of executives have been cutting ties with the NRA—even in the face of political repercussions from the right. Demanding action from those in power is how we move forward.

4. Expanding Roosevelt’s Reach

Today, the Roosevelt Institute announced the addition of four new fellows to its think tank team. William A. “Sandy” Darity Jr., Darrick Hamilton, Julie Margetta Morgan, and Brishen Rogers will focus on building a more inclusive economy and help with the development of a 21st century social contract that supports all Americans. “Public goods or public options can be particularly effective in challenging corporate power and tackling racial or gender inequality that is often made worse by markets,” said Nell Abernathy, Vice President of Research and Policy at Roosevelt. “These four new fellows will be a tremendous boost to this crucial work.”

5. Trade Tensions

As Roosevelt Fellow Todd Tucker explained last week, the Trump administration’s proposal to impose tariffs on steel imports would be a bad move for the industry and foreign policy at large. And Canada agrees. “Canada is vowing to retaliate if U.S. President Donald Trump makes good on his pledge to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum producers,” writes Bloomberg. Trade talks, however, have moved beyond steel. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin recently hinted at the United States re-entering the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)—despite the president’s ongoing attacks of the deal during the 2016 campaign. A lot is still up in the air, but the potential for trade tensions abroad is alarming.

What We’re Reading

Republicans have long lauded themselves as deficit hawks, using the “fear” of rising debt to push forward an agenda that rejects spending for crucial investments in core issues like health care and infrastructure. When it comes to ensuring a healthy economy, The Outline’s Sean McElwee argues that the debt and the deficit aren’t actually important. “The greatest threat the economy faces is not the rise of government debt but austerity and the concentration of wealth in the hands of the one percent.”

Who We’re Following

For Women’s History Month, The Root is partnering with Jezebel to honor “the long-standing contributions of women and people of color in our society.” The month-long series will elevate stories on some of America’s most powerful—yet deeply underserved—communities, including women of color and domestic workers. Join the Roosevelt Institute on Monday, March 5th at 12 EST for a Twitter chat on the hidden rules of health, specifically those targeted at women. Participants include Elizabeth Dawes Gay of the Black Mamas Matter Alliance (BMMA) and Kwajelyn Jackson of the Feminist Women’s Health Center.