How Foreign Policy Can Move Us Beyond Neoliberalism

February 14, 2020

Don’t fear the deficit; fear underinvestment.

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

A Post-Neoliberal Foreign Policy

“Today’s national security experts need to move beyond the prevailing neoliberal economic philosophy of the past 40 years,” Roosevelt Fellow Jennifer Harris and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace’s Jake Sullivan argue in a piece for Foreign Policy. “Toward this end, the foreign-policy community needs to shed a number of old assumptions. First, policymakers should recognize that underinvestment is a bigger threat to national security than the US national debt . . . America’s national security depends on it.” Read on.

  • Another angle: As David Leonhardt writes for the New York Times, Harris and Sullivan’s op-ed offers four specific suggestions on investment, industrial policy, trade, and multinational corporate oversight and taxation. “The piece is well argued, and I found the historical analogies especially telling,” he writes. “Today’s challenges aren’t the same, and the solutions should not be the same. But military leaders and foreign policy experts can again use their prestige and credibility to play a crucial role.” Read more.

The Role of the Fed

During Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s testimony before the House Financial Services Committee this week, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) pressed Powell on full employment and—equipped with a history of civil rights movement advocacy—asked whether a federal jobs guarantee might be the key. “. . . After Dr. King’s assassination, Coretta Scott King picked up the mantle, pushing the Fed to adopt a full employment mandate, and was actually standing behind President Carter as he signed the Humphrey-Hawkins Act into law. And that’s the reason you are here today,” Pressley told Powell. Read more about the testimony in Forbes.

Why the Racial Wealth Gap Persists

“Black History Month has become the time to reflect on all the progress Black Americans have made, but the sobering reality is that when it comes to wealth—the paramount indicator of economic security—there has been virtually no progress in the last 50 years,” Roosevelt Fellow Darrick Hamilton and The Ohio State University’s Trevon Logan write in a Fast Company op-ed. “Based on data from the Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finance, the typical Black family has only 10 cents for every dollar held by the typical white family.” Read on.

Why the Black Rural South Deserves Priority

As Roosevelt Journalist-in-Residence Greg Kaufmann writes for The Nation, “one region that hasn’t received the attention it needs in this or previous elections is the rural Black Belt, specifically the persistently poor counties in 11 Southern states that are home to more than half of the nation’s non-metro poor.” The Southern Economic Advancement Project (SEAP)—fresh off of a listening tour across Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and North Carolina—has solutions. “Economic progress for the Black Belt requires innovation and deep commitment, which means providing consistent investment to address the interconnected issues that hinder growth and block equity,” SEAP Executive Director Stacey Abrams tells Kaufmann. Read on.

How the Trump Budget Threatens the Economy

This week’s Trump budget proposal includes trillions of dollars in cuts for Medicaid, food stamps, and other vital public programs. As Roosevelt Fellow Michael Linden tweeted, that poses existential challenges for the economy and for individuals. “There has simply not been enough written about what an economic disaster Trump’s budget would be. In the short run . . . it would probably induce a recession. In the long run, it would undermine our economic foundations and lead to less overall prosperity. What a mess.”

What We’re Reading

Rewriting the Rules of the European Economy – Joseph Stiglitz

Trump’s Budget: Making America God-Awful Again – The Nation

The Great Affordability Crisis Breaking America – The Atlantic

6 Facts about Economic Inequality in the US – Pew Research Center

How America’s 1% Came to Dominate Equity Ownership – Financial Times

Why the PRO Act Is a Victory for Workers and Our Democracy – The Hill

A Reparations Roadmap For 21st Century Black Americans – TPR