10 Years since the Financial Crisis, Challenging Antitrust, and Getting Smart on Buybacks

September 14, 2018

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

1. 10 Years after the Financial Crisis

It’s been 10 years since Lehman Brothers filed for the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history, a move that shifted the economy from a financial downturn into the Great Recession. “Have We Learned Anything?,” asks CNNMoney. Roosevelt Chief Economist Joseph E. Stiglitz recently released Ten Years Later, a working paper adapted from remarks given about the anniversary. “It has been ten years since the financial crisis dealt the biggest blow to the world economy since the Great Depression,” he writes. “The devastating damage to our economy calls for profound reflection and change, in economics, politics, the financial sector, among policymakers, and in our behavior.”

2. The FTC Explores Market Concentration

This week, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) began a series of hearings to determine whether the agency’s rules and regulations are adequate for the 21st century economy, including the oversight of tech giants like Google. As reported by Reuters, an issue brief by Roosevelt Research Associate Adil Abdela and Research Director Marshall Steinbaum is informing the debate. “Great read from @rooseveltinst,” tweeted FTC Commissioner Rebecca Kelly Slaughter. “@FTC is listening.” In his opening remarks, Commissioner Joseph Simons acknowledged calls for antitrust reform: “The broad antitrust consensus that has existed … in relatively stable form for the last 25 years, is being challenged.”

3. Asian-Americans Don’t Fit a Stereotype

In response to a recent column from the NYT’s Ross Douthat—which, among other things, places Asian Americans at the middle of the political spectrum based on a rather narrow reading of recent news and pop culture events—Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong argues that some pundits are missing the complexity of today’s Asian America. “No surveys show voters clamoring for President Bill Clinton’s blend of cutting welfare while deregulating finance,” Wong writes. “And even if such ‘centrism’ were on the rise, Asian Americans won’t lead the way. Like growing numbers of Americans of every race, we are proud economic progressives.”

4. Make Me Smart: Buybacks

As House Republicans advance another tax-cut package, which would make permanent many of the most troubling and unpopular changes in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, Roosevelt is continuing to explain why the tax code and our economy are not working for most Americans. On Marketplace’s Make Me Smart podcast, Roosevelt Senior Economist and Policy Counsel Lenore Palladino discusses stock buybacks—an extractive corporate practice made worse by the current tax law. The numbers show that the 2017 tax bill and ensuing buybacks bonanza don’t actually help companies or workers in the long term, “they just serve to benefit shareholders in the short run,” Palladino explains.

5. Corruption within Federal Agencies

For The Hechinger Report, Roosevelt Fellow Julie Margetta Morgan explains why we can’t fix America’s student loan system until we tame the industry insiders who use it for their own profit. Recent developments, including the resignation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) top student loan official, illustrate how our student loan program caters to corporations over students. Morgan’s column also points to the rampant corruption that has taken hold today in our economy and society more broadly. “We need rules to stop businesses from buying their way into the driver’s seat in federal agencies,” she writes.  


On Wednesday, September 26, the New York Public Library is hosting an Author Talk with Roosevelt Senior Fellow and Resident Historian David B. Woolner and journalist Jonathan Alter. Discussing The Last 100 Days, Woolner and Alter will shine a light on the end of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s life and presidency. Register here.