New National Director of the Network, NAFTA 2.0, and Amazon’s Minimum Wage

October 5, 2018

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

1. New National Director of the Network

On Monday, the Roosevelt Institute announced Katie Kirchner as the new director of the Roosevelt Network. As Deputy Director of the Network, Kirchner helped develop and elevate the voices of a national cohort of progressive students, guiding their policy research and advocacy across the country. “We’re thrilled that Katie will continue her work to implement a bold vision for the Network program and ensure that we have a strong, inclusive pipeline for progressive activism” said Jeff Krehely, Executive Vice President of the Roosevelt Institute. On the blog, Kirchner outlines the next generation of Network leadership.

2. The New NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is new—but is it improved? The pending accord—now known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA)—brings Canada in to the deal previously reached between Mexico and the U.S. Roosevelt Fellow Todd N. Tucker joined C-SPAN to discuss what’s new, what’s the same, and what’s next. Tucker also spoke with Quartz’s Tim Fernholz about what a new NAFTA means for multinational investor rights, as well as his thoughts on leveling the trade playing field: “Instead of pushing companies down, let’s raise labor and environmental groups up to the same level.”

3. Left Behind: Snapshots from the 21st Century Labor Market

Headline economic indicators don’t tell the whole story of how workers across America are struggling. In Left Behind: Snapshots from the 21st Century Labor Market, Roosevelt Program Director Rakeen Mabud and Program Associate Jess Forden explore today’s changing economy through the lens of six occupations, including carework and trucking. “New Deal-era policies that enabled a fairer distribution of wealth have been eroded,” said Forden. The report argues that our economy and society need new rules—shaped by and for the 21st century. Mabud explains more in a Twitter thread.

4. Amazon’s Minimum Wage

Amazon announced this week that the company will raise its minimum wage to $15 an hour starting on November 1. From Fast Company to CBS News, Roosevelt Research Director and Fellow Marshall Steinbaum discussed the complexity of the decision, including the potential ripple effect on wages. VICE’s Allie Conti called Steinbaum to explore market competition, the political pressures that may have influenced the wage hike, and what the tech giant’s influence on the labor market means. “Is this the best we can hope for in the economy we currently live in? Yeah, kind of. And that sucks. So why don’t we change the way the economy works?” said Steinbaum.

5. It’s Time for Accountable Capitalism

For American Prospect, Roosevelt Senior Economist Lenore Palladino explains why we need to rebalance power within corporate America, by decentering shareholders in corporate decision-making, and how a new model for corporate governance can get us there. In an issue brief, Palladino and Roosevelt Program Associate Kristina Karlsson explore four legislative reforms to corporate rules—as proposed in the Accountable Capitalism Act from Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). “Stakeholder corporate governance is necessary for the kind of economic future we all want—and need,” said Palladino in a statement.

What We’re Reading

Roosevelt’s Marshall Steinbaum joined competition experts Sally Hubbard and Nicolas Petit for a conversation on the future of antitrust. Moderated by Washington Bytes Editor Hal Singer, the chat covers the outdated and ineffective consumer welfare (CW) standard, the effective competition standard—as proposed by Steinbaum and Maurice E. Stucke—and the need to reinvigorate antitrust law and enforcement. “Antitrust is specifically about structuring how the economy works, and under the CW standard, we let companies get away with business models that are highly profitable and extractive,” said Steinbaum.