New Roosevelt Fellow Tackles Structural Change, the Latest on NAFTA, and a Green New Deal

December 7, 2018

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

1. New Roosevelt Fellow Tackles Systemic Economic Racism

This week, the Roosevelt Institute announced that Insight Center for Community Economic Development President Anne Price has joined our team as a fellow. In her inaugural blog post, Price discusses why progressives must go beyond closing the racial wealth gap and center structural change: “I have said before that, in this context, working to ‘close a racial wealth gap’ falls short of understanding the systematic, historical advantage whites have received from American economic policies over generations.” In Roosevelt’s work to advance bold ideas and policies that will tackle economic and racial inequality, Price is an indispensable addition to the team.

2. The Latest on NAFTA

Over the weekend, President Donald Trump announced plans to terminate the existing North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)—largely in an attempt to force Congress to accept the administration’s repackaged version. In a statement, Roosevelt Fellow Todd N. Tucker explains why the effort to roll back the trade agreement without congressional buy-in is risky and why NAFTA 2.0 fails to deliver equitable trade policy by, for instance, reinforcing monopoly power held by tech giants like Facebook. “Going forward, policymakers should focus energy on proven strategies to boost worker power and livelihoods, not sideshows like NAFTA 2.0,” says Tucker.

3. A Green New Deal

Americans have been misled to believe that efforts to reverse climate change will create short-term economic pain. For Forbes, Roosevelt Network Director Katie Kirchner and Roosevelt Fellow Mark Paul discuss organizing efforts in the U.S. that, by upholding the progressive vision of FDR’s New Deal, are challenging the country’s failed business-as-usual climate politics. “Economic prosperity and environmental sustainability are not at odds with each other; in fact, the two go hand-in-hand,” they write. “Building on the spirit of the original New Deal, [a Green New Deal] leverages the power of government as a force for public good to create economic and climate justice that the country desperately needs.”

4. Understanding the Student Debt Crisis

Recently, NYT columnist David Leonhardt called the idea of forgiving all student debt a “giant welfare program for the upper middle class.” In a letter to the editor, Roosevelt Fellow Julie Margetta Morgan and Research Director and Fellow Marshall Steinbaum responded: “To have a full—and vital—debate about how to address the $1.5 trillion student debt crisis, we need a better understanding of the problem. Our recent research shows that policymakers and experts have used faulty assumptions to assert that student debt is mostly harmless.” Morgan and Steinbaum expanded further on the blog.

5. Removing Barriers to Voting: A National Priority

ollowing rampant election fraud in places like Michigan and North Carolina, Community Change Action President and former Roosevelt Fellow Dorian Warren explains in The Hill why dismantling voter suppression must become a national priority. “We cannot let these voters be deterred by efforts to negate or ignore their votes,” he writes. “We need to focus on removing these indirect and direct barriers to voting to make a more equitable, transparent and credible voting system that ensures the legitimacy of each election and allows for all Americans to be confident that their votes are counted.”

What We’re Reading

In “Why a Fringe Idea about the Supreme Court Is Taking over the Left,” FiveThirtyEight’s Clare Malone covers a big idea on progressives’ minds: packing the Supreme Court. As Roosevelt has explored, the Supreme Court is facing a crisis of legitimacy, and as we approach the 2020 presidential election court reform should be at the top of everyone’s minds.