What $3 Trillion Can Do
March 25, 2021
By Matt Hughes, Sonya Gurwitt
Public investment at the scale of today’s crises.
The Roosevelt Rundown is an email series featuring the Roosevelt Institute’s top stories of the week.
The Era of Large Numbers
With the American Rescue Plan now law, the Biden administration is preparing a major, more permanent follow-up: $3 trillion in investments to create jobs, tackle the climate crisis, and upgrade the nation’s physical and social infrastructure in long-overdue ways.
It’s the “Era of Large Numbers,” as Roosevelt Director of Progressive Thought Mike Konczal calls it—a moment in which spending at the scale of our problems is popular, doable, and necessary.
And Roosevelt is ready.
From green transit and energy-efficient housing retrofits to free community college and rural broadband, the Biden administration’s proposals reflect policy ideas and frameworks Roosevelt experts have recommended for years.
- A True New Deal: Building an Inclusive Economy in the COVID-19 Era – Roosevelt Institute
- A Green Recovery: The Case for Climate-Forward Stimulus Policies in America’s COVID-19 Recession Response – Rhiana Gunn-Wright, Kristina Karlsson, Kitty Richards, Bracken Hendricks, and David Arkush
- Economic Recovery Begins at Home: Retrofitting US Housing Stock for Jobs, Health, Savings, and the Climate – Bracken Hendricks, Kara Saul Rinaldi, Mark Wolfe, Cassandra Lovejoy, and Wes Gobar
- A Progressive Framework for Free College – Suzanne Kahn
- Wired: Connecting Equity to a Universal Broadband Strategy – Rakeen Mabud and Marybeth Seitz-Brown
Over a year since COVID-19 struck, employment and labor force participation rates are still well below pre-pandemic levels—particularly for Black people and women.
In a new issue brief, Roosevelt Fellow Kitty Richards and Program Manager Emily DiVito explore one underused solution: Short-Time Compensation (STC), also known as “Shared Work.”
Shared Work programs allow employers to avoid layoffs by temporarily reducing hours for all workers, and then partnering with states to provide prorated unemployment insurance benefits to replace lost wages.
“Because Shared Work programs can help employers guard against dramatic layoffs, workers most vulnerable to changing economic conditions—namely women and workers of color, who continue to lose jobs at rates alarmingly higher than white men—are primed to disproportionately benefit from such programs,” Richards and DiVito explain.
“Even under ordinary economic conditions, Shared Work programs are beneficial. Now that federal relief and recovery legislation has enhanced them, they’re an even more powerful tool, and could help states prevent mass layoffs, direct federal dollars to workers, and save state budgets billions in avoided unemployment payments.” Learn more.
2021 Distinguished Public Service Awards
Earlier this week, Roosevelt hosted the first virtual version of the Distinguished Public Service Awards, which honor individuals whose careers exemplify FDR’s extraordinary dedication to public service. This year’s recipients were Rep. Frank Pallone (D-NJ)—Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee—and AFL-CIO Secretary-Treasurer Elizabeth Shuler.
“With boldness of vision and extraordinary courage, Franklin Roosevelt led our nation out of a grave crisis and into a future of fairness, justice, and dignity for all,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in her introduction of Rep. Pallone. “That is an example that we need today.”
Watch the ceremony—featuring musical performances by Steve Earle—now.
What We’re Reading
Eleanor Roosevelt’s Granddaughter on What She Was Like outside the Spotlight [interview with Anne and Tracy Roosevelt] – The Today Show
The Amazon Union Drive and the Changing Politics of Labor – The New Yorker
Here’s Why the Filibuster Is a Jim Crow Relic – New York Magazine
Biden Plots a Revolution for America’s Children – New York Times
7 Ways America’s Economy Could Change Forever under Biden, from a Top Economics Professor [feat. Roosevelt’s J.W. Mason] – Business Insider