Regressive Tax Policy Fails Again, the Blueprint for a Better Society, and Fighting Trump on Trade

May 31, 2019

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

1. Regressive Tax Policy Fails Again

The Trump administration’s 2017 tax law gave corporations a choice. As expected, they chose extractive activities that benefit already-wealthy shareholders, CEOs, and senior executives instead of paying everyday workers more. “Congressional Research Service—which is nonpartisan, independent, and highly-respected—just published a report that dismantles claims that the GOP tax law is doing much good for the economy,” tweeted Harry Stein. Why don’t corporate tax cuts help the economy? “It’s because the economy hinges on the lives of everyday people, not corporate CEOs and shareholders,” said Roosevelt Fellow Michael Linden.

2. The Blueprint for a Better Society

“Young people and social movements today are trending towards redefining our well-being—in terms of our common humanity; in terms of justice; in terms of sustainability,” said Roosevelt Fellow Darrick Hamilton at the start of the latest episode of Thinking CAP podcast. On the racial wealth gap and more, Hamilton explains how the economy can work better for everyone. He also recently joined MSNBC, discussing the racial wealth gap specifically and whether the big ideas put forward by some of the 2020 candidates, including Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), can remedy this problem: “In the end, we’re going to need a package of goods.”

3. No Silver Bullet for a Complex Problem

Roosevelt Fellow Anne Price also joined MSNBC to underscore why the racial wealth gap is a symptom of structural problems in the US—both historical and present day—that go beyond America’s broken education system. “We’ve long thought that if people simply got a college degree that we could actually equalize opportunity,” she said. As shown in a report co-authored by Roosevelt Fellow Julie Margetta Morgan, our current higher education system, for example, actually exacerbates economic disadvantages by race. In the end, Price reiterates the fact that a complex problem such as the racial wealth gap can’t be solved by a silver bullet and requires a comprehensive solution.

4. Changing Communities from Within

Another school year has ended. For the blog, Roosevelt Network Director Katie Kirchner reviews how Roosevelters changed communities from within. She shares the story of Deondre Morris, one of nine students selected for the inaugural Forge Fellowship. In the last year, Morris—from a neighborhood in Detroit, Michigan, that leads the city in both crime and poverty statistics—built a network chapter and helped elect someone to Congress. “Deondre’s story is just one of many from this year. All across our network students like Deondre have pushed to change the rules, and more importantly, to change who writes them,” said Kirchner. For other end-of-year highlights, keep an eye on the network’s Twitter next week.

5. Fighting Trump on Trade

New York Times report suggests that a trade showdown between Democrats and the Trump administration is inevitable. “Democrats cannot duck a fight with Trump on trade forever,” writes Greg Sargent for the Washington PostAt the center of this battle is the new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Sargent explains why Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is being pressured to step up, lifting Roosevelt Fellow Todd Tucker: “[T]rade expert Todd Tucker argues it still gives corporations too much power in international trade disputes, while not giving labor and environmental groups such power.” Check out a tweetstorm on trade by Tucker.


On Wednesday, June 5, join Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong and Fellow Darrick Hamilton at “Democracy and the Next American Economy: Where Prosperity Meets Justice,” an event hosted by Philanthropy New York. They’ll discuss how to create a more inclusive and sustainable political economy that is better for people and the planet.