A Progressive Solution to Antitrust, Waiting out Trump on Trade, and Buybacks in the Billions

September 28, 2018

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

1. Progressives Call for a Revival of Antitrust

On Tuesday, the Roosevelt Institute and the Great Democracy Initiative (GDI) released a legislative blueprint to combat America’s second Gilded Age. GDI Co-Founder and Director of Policy Ganesh Sitaraman argues for taking antitrust policymaking out of the courts and empowering antitrust enforcers, and Roosevelt Fellow and Research Director Marshall Steinbaum and Maurice E. Stucke, Professor of Law at the University of Tennessee, offer an alternative to the outdated consumer welfare standard, along with policy solutions to increase competition and protect workers and consumers. “If antitrust has a future, this is it,” said law expert Frank Pasquale.

2. Waiting out Trump on Trade

In Politico, Roosevelt Fellow Todd N. Tucker and Vanderbilt Professor of Law Tim Meyer make the case for why Canada’s leaders should wait out President Donald Trump on the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) deal negotiated with Mexico“We have a bold suggestion: Do nothing.” In a Twitter thread, Tucker added additional points to the argument, including the fact that the Constitution gives Congress trade powers. If the deal moves forward, “then it’s a sign that U.S. trade statutes are fundamentally broken [and] North American trade stability [depends on them being] fixed,” said Tucker.

3. Buybacks in the Billions

Roosevelt Senior Economist and Policy Counsel Lenore Palladino joined NPR’s Rhaina Cohen and Stacey Vanek Smith on Planet Money this week for a debate over stock buybacks. “When Walmart says they really can’t afford to pay their workers so that families can live above [the] poverty line, we have to look at what they’re using their money for and say that that’s simply not true,” she said. Flawed ideological arguments, including the claim that companies are supposed to answer to shareholders (as put forward in the debate), have left workers behind in today’s skewed economy. As Palladino argues, companies should once again advance the public’s best interests—not just those of shareholders.

4. The Path to Progressive Policy in 2018 and Beyond

For Medium, Center for Community Change President and former Roosevelt Fellow Dorian Warren explains why the path to a progressive future starts with new and low-turnout voters. “If mobilized, these voters would fundamentally transform the American political landscape,” he writes. “In a midterm election, as many as 60 [percent] of the electorate does not vote. Many of these voters are immigrants, Black Americans, Latinos, and young people whose values and preferences are much more progressive than the electorate as a whole.”

5. Disrupting the Narrative

Last call! Join Roosevelt in Washington D.C. next Wednesday, October 3, for an event focused on the future of work. At “Disrupting the Narrative: Diving Deeper into the 21st Century Workplace,” we’ll release a new report from Roosevelt Program Director Rakeen Mabud and Program Associate Jess Forden that outlines why who holds power matters in today’s economy. We’ll then move to a panel discussion on the topic, featuring Roosevelt’s Marshall Steinbaum and Lenore Palladino, Chris Hughes from the Economic Security Project, Maya Raghu from the National Women’s Law Center, and Veronica Avila from Restaurant Opportunities Centers United. RSVP here.

What We’re Reading

The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justice nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh continued this week, with powerful testimony from Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who alleges that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her as a teen. Roosevelt Network alum Hayley Brundige joined hundreds on Thursday, who stood in solidarity in D.C. with Ford. “I still think disappointingly that we don’t really believe women, and we don’t take their accusations seriously, and we treat women as if they are kind of just a step along the way for a man’s story of success,” she said. “It was really hard for [Ford] to come forward and I think that we need to respect the trauma that she went through.”