Rolling Back Dodd-Frank, Trump’s Trade Blunders, and #NationalWalkoutDay

March 16, 2018

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

1. Gutting Key Consumer Protections

On the 10th anniversary of the Bear Stearns collapse, Senate Republicans joined with more than a few Senate Democrats to roll back key components of the Dodd-Frank Act. Consumer advocates and financial reform experts, including Roosevelt Fellow Mike Konczal, have been sounding the alarm against this expected move. They blasted the proposals as a massive giveaway to Wall Street at a time of soaring bank profits and warned it would create enormous systemic risk throughout our economy, making another 2008-style financial meltdown far more likely.

2. Trump on Trade

Wall Street wasn’t the only sector that saw potentially huge changes this week, with President Trump moving ahead on his expected steel and aluminum tariffs. Roosevelt Fellow and trade policy expert Todd Tucker was featured in Politico’s coverage on why the White House’s proposals are not viable or sound economic policy. And both Tucker and Roosevelt Fellow Jennifer Harris were featured in Democracy Journal’s latest issue, which focused on trade. They made the case that a trade policy rooted in strong institutions and committed to tackling inequality at home and abroad, rather than the whims of one industry or White House clique, would be a huge win for the American people.

3. #Enough

Exactly one month since the tragic shooting in Parkland, Florida, nearly one million students across the country walked out of class for 17 minutes to honor the 17 victims and demand government action on gun violence. Many observers described the protests as the political awakening of a new generation. And in speeches and signs across the country, the youth made it clear this is about more than one tragedy. They assailed the excessive power of the firearm industry, the corrosive impact of lobbyist money on our political system and highlighted the ways that the economic abandonment of many communities of color contributes to the epidemic of gun violence.

4. More of the Supply Side Same

Last week, the Director of the National Economic Council resigned in protest of President Trump’s trade policies. And this week, the White House announced his replacement: supply side devotee and cable news personality Larry Kudlow. The choice of the former Bear Stearns banker does not bode well for the policy advice President Trump will be receiving. Roosevelt Fellow Michael Linden was in Common Dreams explaining how Kudlow “is not interested in making the economy work for ordinary people.” And many harkened back to Kudlow’s National Review columns in December 2007 insisting that the Bush economy was a winner and there was no recession in sight.

5. The Hidden Rules of Housing Discrimination

Tucked within the bill gutting the Dodd-Frank Act this week was an elimination of regulations designed to prevent redlining and racial discrimination in mortgage lending. The racial wealth gap continues harming the lives and prospects of families of color. And much of that gap can be attributed to the long history of racist barriers meant to keep families of color from building wealth through homeownership. The fact that it now might become easier for lenders to racially discriminate against prospective mortgage borrowers is yet another reason this legislation is a huge step backwards.

What We’re Reading

On Tuesday, Democrat Conor Lamb set off a political earthquake by winning a special election in a western Pennsylvania congressional district that President Trump won by 20 percent in 2016. In the Washington Post, E.J. Dionne examined Lamb’s victory. He concluded that Lamb won by running as a New Deal-style Democrat who focused his campaign on bread and butter issues like universal healthcare and protecting Social Security and Medicare.


Join Roosevelt Fellow and Research Director Marshall Steinbaum and CNN’s Lydia DePillis on March 23 at our New York office for an in-depth conversation about a key force driving Americans’ economic insecurity: monopsony. Steinbaum’s latest research has shown that employers in increasingly concentrated labor markets are able to use their corporate power against workers to drive down wages, limit mobility and reduce entrepreneurship. Breakfast will be served and the conversation will conclude with a question and answer session.