An FDR-Size Achievement
March 12, 2021
By Matt Hughes
The American Rescue Plan, and what’s next.
The Roosevelt Rundown is an email series featuring the Roosevelt Institute’s top stories of the week.
A Paradigm Shift
Yesterday was historic.
One year into a pandemic that has taken over 530,000 US lives and left millions without jobs or economic security, the American Rescue Plan is now law, and will soon bring urgently needed relief to individuals, small businesses, and state and local governments.
But what makes this an “FDR-size piece of legislation,” as New York Times columnist Jamelle Bouie calls it, is the sweeping expansion of the nation’s social safety net: from annual cash payments of up to $3,600 for parents to expansions of the Affordable Care Act and Earned Income Tax Credit.
Experts project that the law could cut childhood poverty by over half and overall poverty by a third, while reducing the number of uninsured people by as much as 4.4 million.
The after-tax income of middle-income families, meanwhile, is estimated to rise 5.5 percent—about double the increase of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.
“As I see it, both the scale and the direction of the American Rescue Plan break the neoliberal, deficits-and-inflation-come-first mold that has hollowed out our economy for a generation,” said Roosevelt President & CEO Felicia Wong.
“They’re a tangible acknowledgment that economic policy exists to serve all people, especially those who are most in need and have been historically excluded. That our government should assertively work to invest in a better and more equitable future.”
“We need to remember the government isn’t some foreign force in a distant capital,” President Biden said during his primetime address last night. “It’s us, all of us.”
Economic Recovery Begins at Home
“We have a Congress that is formulating a massive infrastructure package as part of the next wave of stimulus response,” Roosevelt Fellow and Evergreen Collaborative co-founder Bracken Hendricks told Bloomberg CityLab this week. “Unless homes and buildings are at the center of that infrastructure package and job creating agenda, we will fall short.”
In a new report from Roosevelt and Evergreen, Hendricks and co-authors Kara Saul Rinaldi, Mark Wolfe, Cassandra Lovejoy, and Wes Gobar offer a roadmap: specific federal policy proposals to rebuild housing stock, promote health, lower costs for homeowners, advance 100 percent clean and carbon-free energy goals, and protect the global environment.
Another plus: The Economic Recovery Begins at Home plan can be achieved in a budget reconciliation package. Learn more in this fact sheet and Bloomberg CityLab’s exclusive on the report.
What We’re Reading
Hidden Provisions in Biden’s Rescue Bill Make This a Bigger Deal Than You Thought [feat. Roosevelt’s Mike Konczal] – Washington Post
Five Things the COVID-19 Bill Revealed about How Washington Will Work in the Biden Era [feat. Konczal] – FiveThirtyEight
A Tax Code Optimized for White Wealth Leaves Black Americans Behind [feat. Roosevelt’s Darrick Hamilton] – Bloomberg
Here’s What You Need to Know about “the Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases”—a Key Climate Metric [feat. Roosevelt’s Joseph Stiglitz] – CNBC
Why the PRO Act Is Part of a Green New Deal – Gizmodo
For Democracy to Stay, the Filibuster Must Go – New York Times