New Report on Taming Corporate and Financial Power

By Mike Konczal |

Today the Roosevelt Institute is launching a new report, Untamed: How to Check Corporate, Financial, and Monopoly Power (pdf), on which I’m a co-editor. It’s launching alongside another big Roosevelt report, Rewrite the Racial Rules: Building an Inclusive American Economy (pdf). You can live stream the launch event here beginning at noon.

There’s a lot of fun stuff in Untamed, including a “year in inequality” in the introduction, J.W. Mason on why the left shouldn’t focus on reducing the trade deficit, new agenda-setting on corporate taxes and monopoly power, a focus on regulatory reform, and much more. We believe this rules agenda complements a more traditional social insurance and public goods platform. We also talk about how tackling these issues, which can often seem abstract and disconnected from everyday life, really does affect everyday people, particularly communities of color. I hope you enjoy it!

Below is an excerpt from the executive summary of Untamed:

Since the release of last year’s Rewriting the Rules, the political debate has increasingly focused on the rules of the economy and how they have failed average Americans. As such, the next president has an opportunity to use the 2016 election as a mandate for economic progress and a rebuke to four decades of trickle-down economics. Our rules-focused agenda is not meant to stand alone; it is designed to complement traditional progressive agendas that advocate for increased investment in public goods and social insurance, expanded labor rights, and anti-discrimination policies. However, we believe any successful progressive economic agenda must include some mix of the policies detailed in this report.

There are three core components of our agenda to check corporate, financial, and monopoly power. In the first chapter, we examine how corporate power has grown since the 1980s, increasing monopoly- like concentration domestically and globally while avoiding taxes. We explore how to fix the rules of the corporate sector and identify key policy solutions to address unfair market concentration, inequitable tax policies, and the unintended economic consequences of the trade deficit.

In the second chapter, we address the growth of the financial sector. Despite the monumental financial reform passed in response to the 2008 crisis, regulation remains insufficient to curb the risks, complexities, and challenges of our modern, global financial system. We identify key congressional and regulatory actions to strengthen the safety and soundness of the largest institutions and discourage risky activities that remain under-regulated in the shadow banking system.

Finally, the third chapter focuses on how the next administration can use its authority and leverage the administrative rulemaking process to make the proposed corporate and financial reforms a reality. With the knowledge that the next president may be constrained by an intransigent Congress, we identify key agency and executive actions that could improve regulatory independence, inclusiveness, and effectiveness.

Mike Konczal is a Fellow with the Roosevelt Institute, where he works on financial reform, unemployment, inequality, and a progressive vision of the economy. His blog, Rortybomb, was named one of the 25 Best Financial Blogs by Time magazine. Follow him on Twitter @rortybomb.