What Trump Got Wrong at Davos

January 24, 2020

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.

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

Why Mothers’ Choices About Work and Family Often Feel Like No Choice at All – New York Times 

Democrats Should Talk about Child Care Costs in a Broader Way – Vox

Women’s Gains in the Work Force Conceal a Problem – New York Times

The World’s 2,153 Billionaires Are Richer Than 4.6 Billion People, Says Oxfam – Bloomberg

The Tax Code Is Regressive – The Atlantic

The Case for Digital Public Infrastructure – Knight First Amendment Institute

How Millennial Leaders Will Change America – Time

The Left-Wing Realignment of American Politics Has Already Begun – New York Magazine