New Rules and New Politics, Putting Power in the Presidency, and the Anti-Entrenchment Agenda

June 28, 2019

The Roosevelt Rundown is an email series featuring the Roosevelt Institute’s top 5 stories of the week. We’re skipping next week’s rundown to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday, but we’ll be back on Friday, July 12.

1. New Rules, New Politics

The American people increasingly understand that the private sector has captured our economy, democracy, and society—and that this reality has a profound, negative impact on our daily lives. Some leading policymakers have responded to this awakening, which has the potential to change politics as we know it. For Boston Review, Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong outlines how a revolution in economics has led to this new kind of politics“[T]he paradigm shift at the heart of the new economics has focused our attention on the profound imbalances of today’s entrenched power. That some leading, mainstream politicians see this for what it is gives some reason to hope,” says Wong.

2. Putting Power in the Presidency

Wong’s “new rules, new politics” argument was made evident during the Democratic primary debates on Wednesday and Thursday night. From combating corporate concentration to pursuing inclusive environmental policy, many candidates are shifting their agenda to meet the moment. For the blog, Roosevelt Vice President of Policy and Strategy Nell Abernathy and Fellow Julie Margetta Morgan explain how candidates can win our votes next year: “The concentration of power in our economy and our democracy are at the heart of America’s economic and social challenges. Correctly identifying distorted power dynamics and crafting policies to address them must be a requisite for anyone seeking the presidency in 2020 and beyond.”

3. The Anti-Entrenchment Agenda

The American Prospect’s Paul Starr focuses squarely on entrenched power, elevating three specific solutions to the problem. On rebalancing power in the market, Starr cites New Rules for the 21st Century: “As a recent report of the Roosevelt Institute argues, progressive taxation can serve both as ‘a deterrent against extraction and wealth hoarding’ and as a means of limiting the outsized political sway of the superrich. A revived antitrust policy can reduce ‘firms’ ability to exploit competitors, consumers, and workers’ as well as their ability to manipulate public policy. Empowering workers can enable them to claim a fair share of the economy’s gains and to offset corporate political influence.”

4. Voices from the Field

For the blog, Roosevelt Network Forge Fellow Sadiya Khan discusses her journey to public service, which began with her vision to reclaim public power by better connecting government with the communities it’s meant to serve. From starting a feminist club to securing menstrual hygiene products for homeless women, Khan brings a strong commitment to the most disadvantaged to her work with the fellowship. “It may be obvious, but the point bears repeating nonetheless: In social change work, I have come to understand that there is no substitute for working with those who are directly impacted,” she said.

5. With Great Power Comes Green Responsibility

Quoted in a Fast Company piece on Big Tech and the climate crisis, Roosevelt Fellow Mark Paul expands on the framework of his recent decarbonization report (co-authored with Roosevelt Fellow JW Mason and Anders Fremstad of Colorado State University). “I’d like to see [Big Tech] taking more of a role in building out the green economy in particular,” Paul says. “Right now there’s a number of investments that need to be made to decarbonize the economy faster and drive down costs. So I think the Big Tech firms have an important role to play in investing much more than they’ve been doing to date.”

What We’re Reading

On Monday, a group of wealthy Americans, including Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes and Abigail Disney, published an open letter in support of a progressive wealth tax. “Some ideas like #wealthtax are too important for America‘s future and should be part of all 2020 presidential candidates’ platforms,” tweeted Ian Simmons, co-founder of the Blue Haven Initiative, who also signed on to the letter.