How to Build an Equitable and Sustainable Economy

August 13, 2021

Structure public investments to promote public good.

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

Planning for the Public Good

In addition to approving a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure framework on Tuesday, the Senate passed a $3.5 trillion budget blueprint, marking the start of a new legislative process in which congressional Democrats will work to draft a package that reflects key aspects of President Biden’s economic agenda.

As we’ve pointed out over the past few months, the details of how such public investments get structured are crucial.  

In a new trio of issue briefs, Roosevelt experts describe how a range of public investments can “be structured to promote equity and democracy throughout our economy and political system,” as Suzanne Kahn writes in an introduction to the briefs. 

They propose a democratic and inclusive approach to industrial policy, argue the benefits of a public option for asset management, and explain how to structure childcare investments to better meet the needs of families and communities. 

Each brief “show[s] how affirmative public policy decisions to cede planning to the market have undermined equity and democracy and made our economy less resilient,” Kahn writes. “Though they examine very different pieces of our economy, each brief arrives at a similar conclusion: To address our nation’s most urgent problems, we must deepen the public’s role in planning and oversight.”

Read an overview of the trio: “Planning for the Public Good: How to Structure More Equitable and Sustainable Investments.”

And read on in each individual issue brief:


What the Media Gets Wrong About Inflation

“This pandemic experience has . . . proven that actually, government can do a lot more than we thought. And actually, it can do it pretty well. We don’t actually have to have mass impoverishment, eviction, and hunger every time the economy enters recession. We can actually maintain people’s access to the necessities of life,” Roosevelt’s J.W. Mason says in an interview with New York Magazine in which he discusses what the media gets wrong about inflation, how to measure true full employment, and more. 

Read more in “America’s Inflation Debate Is Fundamentally Confused.”


What We’re Reading

Playing Nice With the Fossil Fuel Industry Is Climate DenialThe New Republic

The Infrastructure Bill Is a Trillion-Dollar Test for Environmental Justice – Bloomberg CityLab

College Was Supposed to Close the Wealth Gap for Black Americans. The Opposite Happened.Wall Street Journal

The Big Drop in American Poverty During the Pandemic, Explained [feat. Roosevelt’s Naomi Zewde] – Vox