Break with Convention

August 21, 2020

Shift policy, shift power.

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

The Policy Bedrock of a True New Deal

Accepting the Democratic nomination for president 88 years ago, FDR pitched a transformative plan for a nation in crisis: a New Deal to shift not just policy but power. Today, Americans want and need change on a similar scale. “From the Movement for Black Lives to the Green New Deal coalition, movements are asking for the same basic things: a government that spends its money and political capital not on punishment, incarceration, and the status quo, but on education, jobs, care, and transformation,” Roosevelt President & CEO Felicia Wong writes for Boston Review. Read on for five policies Wong says we need now.

For more coverage of Roosevelt’s True New Deal report, read this Vox piece, which features interviews with Wong and Duke University’s William “Sandy” Darity Jr. And for more from Wong, read her latest blog post: “Toward the Light: How Joe Biden’s Convention Speech Compares to FDR’s New Deal Address.”

  • We can afford it: “Interest rates have been low for decades, and with pressing political issues to address, the main focus should be on how to spend. The prospect of raising taxes on the rich, however, should remain,” Roosevelt Director of Progressive Thought Mike Konczal writes for The Nation. “Taxes don’t just raise revenues; they also structure the income distribution. And raising taxes on the rich would help stop the economy from simply channeling income to executives and owners.”


Shareholder Primacy Persists

One year ago, Business Roundtable members pledged to move from a “shareholder value” model to a more community-oriented approach. But as UMass Amherst’s Chirag Lala and Roosevelt Fellow Lenore Palladino find, “CEOs continued to prioritize paying shareholders and taking on debt in late 2019 and early 2020.” Learn more about their research in a new Roosevelt blog post.


An Automatic Stabilizer

Congress’s continuing failure to authorize new stimulus checks only strengthens the case for recurring direct-cash payments, Economic Security Project co-founder and Roosevelt senior advisor Chris Hughes argues in a Financial Times op-ed: “Because every recession is different, there will always be cliffhanger policy negotiations. But having direct cash on autopilot at least makes room for discussions about other emergency measures, and avoids leaving millions in the lurch.” Read more. 


Made to Fail

This week, the Hub Project, the Roosevelt Institute, and Goat Rodeo launched Made to Fail, a new podcast that examines the decades-spanning conservative efforts to undermine foundational American institutions now strained further by COVID-19—from health care to elections. CNN legal analyst and former Obama administration official Elliot Williams hosts the eight-part series. Subscribe now. 


What We’re Reading

America’s Terrible Internet Is Making Quarantine WorseThe Atlantic

How Big Pharma’s Racist Price Gouging Kills Black and Brown Folks – ACRE

Why Hasn’t Voting Done More for Women? – Vox

The 19th Amendment Didn’t Give Women the Right to Vote – Vox

We Crossed the Line Debt Hawks Warned Us about for DecadesNew York Times

We Killed the Middle Class. Here’s How We Can Revive It. [feat. Darity]The Atlantic

The Importance of the Post Office to American DemocracyThe New Yorker

What the Post Office Needs to Survive a Pandemic Election – ProPublica