Fed Up, Going Beyond Equal Pay, and the Next Payday Loans

July 12, 2019

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

1. Fed Up: The Death of the Phillips Curve

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testified before the Financial Services Committee on Wednesday and was met with sharp questions from committee members, including Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI). Roosevelt Fellows JW Mason and Mike Konczal elevated a 2017 report on the issues for the committee before the hearing. New York magazine’s Eric Levitz explains why Wednesday was a huge moment for monetary policy, and Neil Irwin covers the Fed’s rejection of its own consensus on full employmentFor the NYT, Mason describes what full employment would really look like, and he outlines what happened at the hearing here.

2. Addressing the Roots of the Racial Wealth Gap

In partnership with the Haas Institute, Roosevelt Fellows Andrea Flynn and Rakeen Mabud published an evaluation of the Ford Foundation’s grantmaking on the racial wealth gap over the last 20 years. While acknowledging advancements in the philanthropic sector’s understanding of race-based wealth inequities, Flynn and Mabud conclude that disproportionate attention to individual savings behavior failed to dismantle systemic racial exclusion. As Roosevelt Fellow and Insight Center President Anne Price tweeted this week, “Somewhere along the way, asset building became increasingly conflated with ending the racial wealth gap. If we want to truly address racial wealth inequality, we have to focus exclusively on its root causes.”

3. Going Beyond Equal Pay

On the heels of the fourth World Cup victory for the US women’s national team, Roosevelt Fellow Rakeen Mabud highlights the team’s fight—and the broader movement—for pay equality in a Forbes op-ed. Though the record-breaking women’s team earns more revenue—and scores more victories—than their male counterparts, their max earning potential for a World Cup cycle is only $0.23 on the dollar compared to the men’s team. “If the success and advocacy of the USWNT shows us anything, it is that those who have historically faced an economy stacked against them are no longer willing to put up with it,” Mabud writes.

4. The Plight of Health Care in Rural America

The market power crisis is hurting workers, consumers, and entire communities. In “The Plight of Health Care in Rural America: How Hospital Mergers and Closures Harm Women,” Roosevelt’s Andrea Flynn and Rakeen Mabud explore how corporate consolidation disadvantages rural women as patients and as workers. “Trends in the hospital industry mirror broader trends of outsized corporate and employer power in our society,” said Mabud. “What we are seeing within the health care sector underscores the cost that these shifting power dynamics have for the public, especially rural Americans.”

5. The Next Payday Loans

On Monday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) shared a recent American Prospect op-ed coauthored by Roosevelt Fellow Julie Margetta Morgan. “Wall Street is lobbying policymakers to weaken the rules for their new ways to trick [and] trap people into debt. This time it’s student debt—but we’ve seen this story before,” said Warren. Margetta explains why the promise of income share agreements (ISAs) will likely fall short and elevates real solutions: “If legislators really want to help students, they should focus on the basics: fighting for increased investments in public higher education, rebalancing power between employers and workers in the labor market, and alleviating the burden of student debt.”

What We’re Reading

This week, Roosevelt Senior Economist Lenore Palladino and Fellow Brishen Rogers released two new working papers on corporate governance and automation, respectively. Palladino explores “stakeholder corporations,” in which other stakeholders beyond shareholders (most notably, workers) collectively engage in corporate decision-making and own corporate equity. Rogers makes the case that automation is not a major threat to workers today but that existing labor law allows companies to use new technology—specifically information technology—in ways that give them outsized power over their workers.