Decarbonizing the US Economy, Dividing the Right on Economics, and Going Beyond Neoliberalism

June 14, 2019

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

1. Decarbonizing the US Economy

Policymakers cannot continue to meet major challenges with short-term, marginal tweaks, especially when it comes to the climate crisis. Today, Roosevelt Fellows Mark Paul and JW Mason and Anders Fremstad of Colorado State University released a new report that outlines how to save the planet, curb inequality, and grow the economy. Most notably, the authors explain how to pay for more public spending, which any comprehensive plan to address climate change will require. The American people have a chance to reclaim our collective power and reshape our society into one that is more just and equitable. We can’t afford to let this chance go to waste.

2. The Right Is Divided on Economics

For Democracy Fund, Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong released a new Voter Study Group report coauthored by Lee Drutman and Vanessa Williamson. Ultimately, they show how Americans’ economic views define—and defy—party lines, finding that lower-income Republicans are substantially more economically progressive than higher-income Republicans. New York magazine, the New York Times, and Vox covered the report. “We found a strong correlation between the stories Americans tell themselves about how the economy works, their policy preferences, and their voting behavior,” said Wong, pointing to the crucial need to rewrite the story—and rules—of the economy.

3. Beyond Neoliberalism

We are on the cusp of a new era in economy ideology. This week, Democracy Journal published a series by some of the smartest leaders in the field called “Beyond Neoliberalism.” Roosevelt’s Felicia Wong explores how to build new institutions in a new economy: “For new ideas to take root, they need institutions within which to grow and flourish. A new world is within our imaginative powers. It is burbling around the academy. Economists think about power. Political scientists think about economics.” Read more, including an essay by Roosevelt Fellow Darrick Hamilton on race and neoliberalism.

4. On Economic Rights

This week, Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) went “full FDR,” writes Politico’s Holly Otterbein, after he proposed a 21st-century bill of rights during a campaign speech. “Together with organized labor, leaders in the African-American community, and progressives inside and outside the party, FDR led a transformation of the American government and the American economy,” said Otterbein. From January, we’re revisiting an op-ed in The Nation by Roosevelt Fellows Andrea Flynn and Susan R. Holmberg on why America needs economic rights and why now is the time to push for them.

5. Upcoming Release on Guaranteed Income

Race- and gender-based wealth inequities are two of the greatest failures of the American economy. A universal basic income, or a no-strings-attached direct cash benefit from the government (also referred to as a guaranteed income), could help combat these inequities. “I think this is a really interesting conversation because it pushes us to think … hard about our social contract,” said Roosevelt Fellow Rakeen Mabud on the subject. Next week, in honor of Juneteenth, we’ll release a new issue brief that explores a guaranteed income through a racial and gender equity lens.

What We’re Watching

Roosevelt’s Darrick Hamilton joined Paul Solman for PBS News Hour to discuss the racial wealth gap. “The typical Black household where the head graduated from college has less wealth than a white household where the head dropped out of high school,” said Hamilton. Stay tuned for the full segment.