10 Ideas 2019, Why Markets Alone Are Not Enough, and the Call for Filibuster Reform

April 5, 2019

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

1. Launching the Second Decade of 10 Ideas

On Tuesday, the Roosevelt Network launched 10 Ideas 2019, the 11th annual edition of the journal. Each year, students research, write, and advocate ideas that are generated through the program’s trainings and workshops. As Roosevelt Network Director Katie Kirchner explains, by supporting the next generation of leaders, Roosevelt is changing who writes the rules. In doing so, we believe that we can help fulfill the ideals of American democracy, revive our economy, and build true public power. This year’s proposals include decreasing barriers to voting and increasing historically low student electoral turnout by making Election Day a campus-wide holiday at the University of Michigan; reinstating discretionary parole to alleviate overcrowding in Virginia jails; and diversifying the specialized public high schools in Boston, Massachusetts.

2. Why Markets Alone Are Not Enough

This week, the Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip argued that Democrats haven’t given market-based solutions—for climate change, inequality, and health care, for example—a chance: “More surprising is how many Democrats want to ditch Obamacare as well, because it doesn’t intrude in the market enough…. many readily blame inequality, poverty, racial inequity, and global warming on ‘market fundamentalism, ‘market fetishism’ and ‘neoliberalism.’” Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong explained why this is not the case: “Progressives, she says, haven’t abandoned market mechanisms altogether: [T]hey just don’t think they’re enough,” writes Ip. Wong elaborated her point on Twitter.

3. How to Manage the Next Economic Downturn

Markets go up, and they go down. The current period of economic growth will soon be the longest on record, and economists are predicting that the next downturn is eminent. Markets, however, don’t operate in a vacuum. They are structured by rules put in place by government. On the blog, Roosevelt Fellow Katy Milani argues that instead of focusing on one set of solutions—mainly banking regulation and monetary and fiscal policy—as the way to avert and manage inevitable economic slumps, we should also look to corporate governance, tax policy, and antitrust law as robust approaches to fix our broken corporate sector. Currently, corporate America will play a likely role in triggering the next downturn.

4. The Age of Fissured Jobs and Joint Employers

Declining unionization rates, the proliferation of noncompete and arbitration clauses, and outsized employer power plague today’s economy. This week, the Department of Labor proposed a new joint-employer rule, which would make it harder for workers to claim to have two employers and would thus reduce companies’ responsibilities to their workforce. In “Challenges for Workers in the Age of Fissured Jobs and Joint Employers,” Roosevelt Program Associate Jess Forden explains the crucial need to redefine “employer” in the 21st century labor market and underscores why it’s time for policymakers to reimagine labor law: “Until we [rewrite] the rules that shape power dynamics between employers and employees, workers will continue to be left out and left behind.”

5. 2020 Candidates Take Aim at Market Power

“From meatpacking to big tech, presidential contenders say [that] market concentration is harming the economy,” writes Benjy Sarlin for NBC News. As we know, market power rigs the economy against workers, consumers, and communities, and revived antitrust enforcement is a bold, much-needed way to rectify this problem. “The movement gained new prominence after the 2016 race,” says Sarlin. “Senate Democrats made anti-monopoly policy a key part of their Better Deal package, a set of priorities to guide them through the next election cycle.” Roosevelt Fellow Marshall Steinbaum responded: “Plenty of people who you would affiliate with the center of the Democratic Party started saying openly we needed a more vigorous antitrust policy.”

What We’re Reading

Today at the National Action Network convention, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) called for filibuster reform in a speech. “Last year the Senate passed a bill that would make lynching a federal crime,” she said. “Last year. In 2018. Do you know when the first bill to make lynching a federal crime was introduced? 1918. One hundred years ago. And it nearly became the law back then. It passed the House in 1922. But it got killed in the Senate—by a filibuster. And then it got killed again. And again. And again. More than 200 times. An entire century of obstruction because a small group of racists stopped the entire nation from doing what was right.” In a recent paper on fixing the Senate, Roosevelt Fellow Todd N. Tucker explores filibuster reform.