Remembering the Roosevelt Legacy

October 11, 2019

Happy 135th birthday, Eleanor!

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

2019 Four Freedoms Awards

This past weekend, Roosevelt hosted its biennial Four Freedoms Awards ceremony at the FDR Presidential Library & Museum in Hyde Park, New York. Celebrating the legacy of Franklin and Eleanor, the Four Freedoms Awards honor those who exemplify our democracy’s foundational freedoms—which FDR famously memorialized in a 1941 speech. This year’s award recipients included:

  • Lonnie Bunch, Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution and founding director of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture – Freedom Medal
  • The Boston Globe – Freedom of Speech and Expression
  • Krista Tippett, Founder and CEO, The On Being Project – Freedom of Worship
  • Franklin Thomas, former Ford Foundation president – Freedom from Want
  • Sandy Hook Promise – Freedom from Fear

As Bunch tweeted, “By honoring me with the @RooseveltInst Freedom Medal, you honor the truth that there is nothing more powerful than a people, than a nation, steeped in its history. And there is nothing more noble than honoring our ancestors by remembering.” Watch the ceremony here.

Happy Birthday, Eleanor

“The legacy of the Roosevelts is talked about a lot—whether in the language of the Green New Deal or grappling with the horrific reality of Japanese internment camps—but Eleanor’s advocacy and legacy are often overlooked or left out of conversations, especially about radical women who changed our country. (She actually disagreed with internment and spoke publicly against it.) She was a powerful, tireless advocate, and played a smart inside game to push forward an uncompromising vision of human rights, civil rights, and gender equality.” Read more from Roosevelt Network National Director Katie Kirchner in Teen Vogue.

A Global Green New Deal

Just as FDR’s New Deal met an existential challenge with the full force of government investment and power, so too can a Green New Deal combat today’s climate crisis. “As I explain in a forthcoming paper in the European Economic Review, carbon pricing is necessary but insufficient: We will need large amounts of public and private investment and regulations to guide the economy and stimulate innovation,” Roosevelt Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz writes for Project Syndicate. Read more.

  • In other news: At the Cities & Business Forum in Copenhagen this week, mayors of the world’s largest cities announced the launch of the City-Business Climate Alliance (CBCA). As their press release noted, “The CBCA will ensure city mayors and business CEOs can translate their global climate commitments into practical actions that work in cities, to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C and deliver on the highest ambitions of the Paris Agreement.”
  • On the trail: A new environmental justice plan from 2020 candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren seeks a green transition that would “prioritize communities that have experienced historic disinvestment, across their range of needs: affordable housing, better infrastructure, good schools, access to health care, and good jobs.”

A Health Care System for All

Most of the Americans who were uninsured before the passage of the Affordable Care Act remain uninsured today. In a new working paper, Roosevelt Fellow Naomi Zewde explains why: For a quarter of uninsured adults, it would be cheaper to file for bankruptcy than to meet the lofty deductibles of the law’s private insurance policies. The beneficiaries of those high deductibles: for-profit hospital consortiums. Read on.

  • Why this matters: In a Twitter thread about her final radiation treatment for breast cancer, Roosevelt Fellow Andrea Flynn explores how privilege shapes health outcomes in this unequal system. “Lots of women across the US will have the very same type of cancer I had—many of them much more serious. But because our health system is broken and unjust, many of them will not have the same experience I did.”

Tackling Corporate Tax Avoidance

“The world is facing multiple crises—including climate change, inequality, slowing growth, and decaying infrastructure—none of which can be addressed without well-resourced governments. Unfortunately, the current proposals for reforming global taxation simply don’t go far enough. Multinationals must be compelled to do their part,” Roosevelt Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz writes for The GuardianRead more.

What We’re Reading