The War on Women Is a War on Workers, No Robo-Apocalypse, and Working People Are Losing Out

July 27, 2018

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

1. The War on Women Is a War on Workers

The nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is deeply troubling, particularly to advocates of women’s health and economic justice. For The Washington Post, Roosevelt Fellow Andrea Flynn explains why conservatives’ efforts to bolster their war on women will also reinforce the war on workers. “We are witnessing the willful destruction of the institutions and infrastructure that are key to the health and well-being of women and families and also to that of our economy and our democracy,” she writes.

2. No Robo-Apocalypse

Technological change—or automation—in the 21st century will hurt workers and economic security only if the rules that structure our economy allow it to. In Project Syndicate, Roosevelt Fellow Mark Paul explains why progressive public policy is crucial in ensuring that the future of work is inclusive and just. “For technology to deliver widely shared benefits, policymakers must change the rules of the game,” he writes. “Whether the future of work will serve the many instead of the few is not up to the robots; it is up to us.”

3. Working People Are Losing Out

Roosevelt Program Director Rakeen Mabud joined The Attitude with Arnie Arnesen to discuss what Americans’ fear of automation reveals about our broken economy. Reviewing a blog post co-authored by Mabud, which outlines why we can’t blame the robots for deep economic and political power divides, the podcast highlights how workers are losing out. The forces that drive today’s skewed economy—rampant market power, for instance—are the root cause of 21st century challenges. “Economic insecurity exists in this country because of the vast amount of power held at the top [of our economy] and the declining power held by everyday people,” says Mabud.

4. Up or Down? Which Way Are Wages Going?

For the first time since the 2008 financial crisis, wage growth for workers is restabilizing—in Europe. For the NYT, journalist Jack Ewing writes that “Wages Are Rising in Europe. But Economists Are Puzzled.” On the broken link between record profits and stagnant wages as seen globally, he says: “The economic puzzle has ramifications for global political as well as financial stability.” Stateside, and with a striking chart from Bloomberg, Vox’s Emily Stewart shows how the Trump tax law is failing workers in the United States. “Republicans said corporate tax cuts would boost wages,” Stewart writes. “They’re not.”

5. Prioritizing the Powerful, Hurting the Vulnerable

On Wednesday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos put forward a plan to undo Obama-era student loan forgiveness rules that are intended to protect borrowers defrauded by for-profit colleges. “Instead of helping defrauded students cancel their debts and move on with their lives, these proposed rules would shield poor-performing schools from being held accountable for their misconduct,” said Suzanne Martindale, a senior attorney for Consumers Union. In an issue brief and Twitter thread, Roosevelt Fellow Julie Margetta Morgan outlines how Devos’s proposal will reinforce a system that serves industry insiders over students, borrowers, and taxpayers.

What We’re Reading

Work by Rebecca Traister, writer-at-large for New York magazine, is always essential reading. Her latest feature explores Senator Elizabeth Warren’s (D-MA) boundless commitment to defeat Donald Trump’s politics and policies. Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong responded to Traister’s piece with illuminating words: “Persistence eventually wins out; each and every one of us needs to remember that.”