Industrial Strategy Is Here

September 23, 2022

Biden’s top economist explains this moment.

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

How to Save a Country

Fresh off a legislative winning streak—and unprecedented industrial policy advances—the Biden administration is having a moment right now. 

Brian Deese, Director of the National Economic Council, had a lot to do with that.

On the first episode of How to Save a Country, Deese tells hosts Felicia Wong and Michael Tomasky about the uniting principle behind the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, the CHIPS and Science Act, and the Inflation Reduction Act: “competent, effective government focused on investing in the United States, building in the United States, building capacity that’s going to connect to people’s lives.”

“[W]e no longer have to talk in the future tense about what America’s industrial strategy should be. It’s here.”

Listen now, and subscribe for new episodes every Thursday.


Unions Preserve Jobs

In 2020, employment plummeted to an extent not seen since the Great Depression.

But for millions of workers, union membership protected them from the mass layoffs of the early pandemic.

“While total employment declined by 15.1 percent for all workers between January and April 2020, those covered by a union contract experienced a decline of only 6.7 percent,” Roosevelt’s Alí Bustamante writes in a new brief.

And while total employment did not return to pre-pandemic levels for two years, workers in unions were able to recover pandemic-related employment losses in just four months.

Read more in “A New Era for Worker Power: Labor Wins during the Pandemic, and the Policies We Need to Sustain the Momentum.”


Why Market Power Matters for Inflation

“[M]arkups from before the pandemic were a strong predictor of the increase in markups during 2021, suggesting that market power had a role in driving inflation,” Roosevelt’s Mike Konczal testified before the House Committee on Oversight and Reform Subcommittee on Economic and Consumer Policy this week.

Learn more about Konczal and Niko Lusiani’s findings in “Prices, Profits, and Power: An Analysis of 2021 Firm-Level Markups.”


What We’re Reading and Listening To

Joe Biden and the End of Reaganomics with [Roosevelt’s] Felicia Wong Why Is This Happening? The Chris Hayes Podcast

A Left Answer to Inflation [feat. Roosevelt’s Todd N. Tucker]In These Times

The US’s “Immigration Crisis” Is Admitting Too Few Immigrants, Not Too Many [by Roosevelt senior fellow Deepak Bhargava and fellow Rich Stolz]The Guardian

Why Some Blame Record Corporate Profits for High Prices [feat. Roosevelt fellow Lindsay Owens] – NPR All Things Considered

Biden Has Helped the Quiet Revolution of Giving People MoneyNew York Times