Here’s How We Pay for It

November 1, 2019

Spoiler alert: Every 2020 climate plan is affordable.

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

Why We Can Afford a Green New Deal

Combatting the climate crisis isn’t just affordable; it can boost an economy that’s been operating below capacity. As Roosevelt Fellow JW Mason and Roosevelt Senior Associate/Research Assistant Kristina Karlsson argue in a new issue brief, “How do we pay for it?” shouldn’t be a gotcha question for progressives. “In short, we can afford to pay for climate policy mobilization at the scale that candidates are proposing; it can be paid for through debt, through taxes, and through economic growth. Ultimately, we should not be debating the cost of candidates’ various plans. What we should be debating is which proposals will most effectively achieve the urgent goals of reducing carbon emissions and promoting equity and economic security.” Read on.

  • Coming soon: Markets alone won’t curb the climate crisis. Next week, a report by Roosevelt Fellow Mark Paul and Colorado State University’s Anders Fremstad will explore how neoliberalism and the myth of “free” markets have prevented climate action.
  • In other news: “In recent years, activists around the country, including in New York City, Boston, Providence, Chicago, Boulder, and Washington, DC, as well as Northern California and Maine, have been working to transition utilities to public ownership, which would make them accountable to the public instead of investors.” Read more from Teen Vogue.

Public Power Is the Best Medicine

“The idea that the high costs of medicines are the price we must pay for innovation evinces a worldview that is wholly blind to anything but a marketized approach to prescription drug provision, despite the ways that such an approach cannot and will never meet the needs of American patients.” Read more from Roosevelt Vice President of Advocacy and Policy Steph Sterling and Fellow Julie Margetta Morgan in “New Rules for the 21st Century: Corporate Power, Public Power, and the Future of Prescription Drug Policy in the United States.”

  • Another angle: “The last century has shown that the drug industry depends upon the stoking of invidious divisions—between ‘patients’ and ‘criminals’; citizens and non-citizens; whites and minorities; Americans and foreigners—to maintain its wealth and influence.” Read more from the New Republic.

An Unjust Health Care System

“Every weekday for six weeks this fall, I had radiation for early-stage breast cancer. October 9th was my last treatment. This journey has been a lesson in privilege, structural inequality, and our broken social and economic systems,” Roosevelt Fellow Andrea Flynn writes for “Our ability to care for ourselves during a health crisis should not be dependent on generous employers or on our zip code. We need more robust public policies to ensure we all have access to the same paid leave that I had.” Read on.

Don’t Bank on Facebook

“[Mark] Zuckerberg says Libra will help the disadvantaged, a highly dubious claim for a massive private corporation that mainly aims to create shareholder profits,” Roosevelt Fellow Mehrsa Baradaran writes for the Washington Post. “That’s because the financial system’s issues are not problems with technology: They are problems of policy. They should be addressed in Congress and the people’s bank, not in Facebook’s boardroom.” Read more.

Trickle-Down Tricks

On a special Halloween episode of Pitchfork Economics, Roosevelt President & CEO Felicia Wong and Roosevelt Fellow Michael Linden explain the scary effects of trickle-down economics. “I’m thinking that the biggest trick of trickle-down economics is that cutting taxes for the rich will help the poor,” Wong said. “We know that’s wrong. The Trump tax cut made that worse—a sugar high for a few and more insecurity for everyone else.” Listen here.

What We’re Reading

It Would Take 100 Years for the Average Employee to Earn What Their CEO Makes in a Year – CNBC

The Way We Measure the Economy Obscures What Is Really Going On – New York Times

How the Student Debt Complex Is Crushing the Next Generation of Americans – TIME

HBCU, Black Parents Saddled with Risky College Student Debt Because of Parent PLUS Loan – USA Today

For Many Black Millennials, Student Debt Is Biggest Hurdle in Homeownership – Washington Post

How to Make Sure Racial Justice Is Part of Climate Activism – Mashable

Are You a Moderate? Think Again – New York Times