What Trump Got Wrong at Davos
January 24, 2020
By Matt Hughes
The economy isn’t working for most.
The Roosevelt Rundown is an email series featuring the Roosevelt Institute’s top stories of the week.
The 1 Percent President
This week at the World Economic Forum’s annual Davos conference, President Trump declared that “the American dream is back bigger, better, and stronger than ever before.” In an op-ed for The Guardian, Roosevelt Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz issues an urgent fact-check. “Even judging by GDP, the Trump economy falls short. Last quarter’s growth was only 2.1%, far less than the 4%, 5% or even 6% Trump promised, and even less than the 2.4% average of Obama’s second term. That is a remarkably poor performance considering the stimulus provided by the $1tn deficit and ultra-low interest rates,” Stiglitz writes. “So, Trump deserves failing grades not only on essential tasks such as upholding democracy and preserving our planet. He should not get a pass on the economy, either.” Read more and watch Stiglitz discuss inequality and the climate crisis with Bloomberg’s Tom Keene.
- In other news: In conjunction with the Davos gathering, the World Economic Forum also released its inaugural Social Mobility Report. Echoing the calls of business leaders like Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, the report argues for a new era of shareholder capitalism: “The most socially mobile economies all share an emphasis on effective social policies that benefit communities as well as provide a platform for healthy, competitive economies. By comparison, economies that are organized more on ‘shareholder value maximization’, or ‘state capitalism,’ tend to perform less well.” Learn more about stakeholder corporations from Roosevelt Fellow Lenore Palladino.
The Strands of New Progressivism
On NPR’s Left, Right & Center, Roosevelt President & CEO Felicia Wong talks impeachment, the USMCA, and the four strands of new progressivism in a post-neoliberal world: new structuralists, public providers, economic transformers, and economic democratists. “There are lots of subtleties amongst these; a lot of the people who are in these various strands have plenty of debates with each other,” Wong said. “But overall, the reason we call this post-neoliberal is it’s basically taking the idea of power away from solely corporations and putting it back in the hands of people—and also putting it back in the hands of other institutions, including labor institutions.” Listen here.
Rewriting the Rules of Labor
A new report from Clean Slate for Worker Power proposes a bold redesign of American labor law, incorporating the ideas of over 70 thinkers—including Roosevelt Fellow Brishen Rogers. “Across our entire history, access to economic and political power has been unforgivably shaped by racial and gender discrimination, as well as by discrimination based on immigration status, by sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination, and by ableism. And, truth be told, the American labor movement has itself often failed to insist upon a genuinely inclusive and equitable America,” write the report’s authors, Sharon Block and Benjamin Sachs. “What we need, then, is a new labor law that is capable of empowering all workers to demand a truly equitable American democracy and a genuinely equitable American economy.” Read more from Block and Sachs in Newsweek.
- On the trail: “All of these [presidential] candidates have aggressive and meaningful labor policy proposals,” Roosevelt Vice President for Advocacy and Policy Steph Sterling tells the Los Angeles Times. “I think they recognize the need to rebalance power in our economy and the critical roles that unions play in making that a reality.” Read on.
The Hidden Rules of Race
Some of new progressivism’s leading activists, advocates, and scholars join forces in a new essay collection edited by Michael Kazin, Kate Aronoff, and Peter Dreier: We Own the Future: Democratic Socialism—American Style. Showcasing fresh policy solutions and charting a more sustainable, inclusive future, the book features a Roosevelt-penned chapter on the hidden rules of race. Learn more in Dissent.
What the Racial Wealth Gap Means
On an MLK Day episode of NPR’s Mountain Money, Roosevelt Fellow Darrick Hamilton explains the historic causes and implications of the US racial wealth gap. “We often think about wealth as an outcome, but the real value of wealth is what it can do for you: the agency it provides to make decisions in your life,” said Hamilton. Coming soon, a new Roosevelt working paper from Lenore Palladino will explore the effects of shareholder primacy on the racial wealth gap, and a report from Insight Center for Community Economic Development President Anne Price will reexamine the racial wealth gap framework.
What We’re Reading
Women’s Gains in the Work Force Conceal a Problem – New York Times
The Tax Code Is Regressive – The Atlantic
The Case for Digital Public Infrastructure – Knight First Amendment Institute
The Left-Wing Realignment of American Politics Has Already Begun – New York Magazine