Win the Senate to Fix the Senate, Heard on the Hill, and Solidarity in Silicon Valley

May 17, 2019

The Roosevelt Rundown is an email series featuring the Roosevelt Institute’s top 5 stories of the week. The Rundown will take a break next Friday, 5/24, but we’ll be back on May 31!

1. Dems Need to Win the Senate to Fix the Senate

Last weekend, New York Times opinion columnist Jamelle Bouie makes clear why the US Senate is as much a problem as the Trump administration. Lifting a recent report by Roosevelt Fellow Todd Tucker on Senate reform, and It’s Time to Fight Dirty: How Democrats Can Build a Lasting Majority by David Faris, Bouie explains the crucial need for progressives to reclaim the upper chamber of Congress and rectify America’s political system: “Given a Republican Party whose political interests lie in restricting the scope of our democracy, it’s up to Democrats to act. They need to win the Senate so that they can fix the Senate.”

2. Heard on the Hill

Last week, Chris Hughes called for breaking up Facebook—which he co-founded—to dismantle its power. On Monday, Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong joined Hill.TV to explain why “the call for the breakup of Facebook is the tip of the spear in a much larger and very important political fight that [we] look forward to having.” As Wong noted, America’s monopoly problem can be seen far beyond Big Tech. On combating the climate crisis (and corporate power), she noted that progressives can’t afford to stay in the middle: “It’s clear that we have to be as aggressive as possible.”

3. What Voters Need to Know About the Racial Wealth Gap

Prominent presidential candidates have debuted plans that they claim are capable of addressing America’s stark racial wealth gap. As voters consider these proposals, they need to understand what the racial wealth gap is, where it comes from, and why it’s important. In her latest column for Forbes, Roosevelt Fellow Rakeen Mabud does just that. “There is no one policy that will close racial wealth divides. But the current political debate is making strides towards addressing this issue,” she writes. “In the end, freedom in America must include economic freedom—for all.”

4. Solidarity in Silicon Valley

For Boston Review, Roosevelt Fellow Brishen Rogers discusses the Google strike, other worker organizing efforts in the tech industry, retaliation against whistleblowers, and what it all means for labor law reform. Rogers outlines three sets of reforms, including revitalizing unions and guaranteeing workers a voice in corporate decision-making. “Tech companies have seen waves of worker protest, but they are still far from democratic. The remedy is to build and exert real forms of worker power inside the workplace,” he explains. “Our law does not require companies to treat either employees or consumers as fellow citizens. But it could.”

5. A Better Economy Is Possible

The American promise was and is built on the ideal of individual freedom. However, due to the corruption of markets and skewed rule-writing that benefits the few, our nation today has more inequality and less upward social mobility than most other developed countries. For MarketWatch, Roosevelt Chief Economist and Senior Fellow Joseph E. Stiglitz makes the case for progressive capitalism: “We have conducted a 40-year experiment with neoliberalism. The evidence is in, and by any measure, it has failed. We need to save capitalism from itself. A progressive capitalist reform agenda is our best chance.”

What We’re Reading

In an upcoming report on the economics of decarbonization—set to be released next month—Roosevelt Fellow Mark Paul, alongside Roosevelt’s JW Mason and economics professor Anders Fremstand, reviews economic policy ideas that can help deliver an effective, robust Green New Deal. For Project Syndicate, Paul outlines why a carbon tax alone is not enough—which will be further explored in our upcoming report.