The Great Democracy Initiative

August 30, 2021

The Great Democracy Initiative (GDI) was a project of the Roosevelt Institute from 2018 through 2020. Founded by Julie Margetta Morgan and Ganesh Sitaraman, GDI sought to develop bold, progressive, and actionable policy plans for leaders seeking solutions to key issues facing our country. Instead of proposing technocratic tweaks or layering new programs on top of a broken system, GDI offered policy blueprints for addressing the structural problems facing our democracy, including unaccountable policymakers, corporations with outsized economic and political power, and policies that subtly stack the deck against average Americans.

The papers written for GDI can now be found on the Roosevelt Institute’s website at the links below.

Policies to Strengthen Workplace Civic Engagement and Worker Political Voice
Alexander Hertel-Fernandez proposes suggestions to transform the relationship between workers and their workplace in order to expand civic and political engagement.
Federal Procurement of Artificial Intelligence: Perils and Possibilities
David S. Rubenstein proposes reforms to federal procurement law to establish transparent and ethical AI practices across federal agencies.
A Time to Serve: Proposals for Renewing the Civil Service
Rudy Mehrbani, Tess Byars, and Louis Katz propose a set of recommendations to reform federal personnel policy so the next administration can be staffed with the capacity to solve the pressing crises facing the nation.
Extending the Consumer Safety Net: How the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Can Use Its Authority to Protect Vulnerable Consumers
Graham Steele proposes a new consumer safety net that can be created through the CFPB’s existing legal authority.
Soaked: A Policy Agenda to Prepare for a Climate-Triggered Housing Crash
Lindsay Owens introduces policy proposals to ready the housing market for a climate-induced crash and equitably manage retreat from at-risk geographies.
No More Bailouts
Ganesh Sitaraman, Lindsay Owens and Adam J. Levitin propose the creation of a standing emergency economic resilience and stabilization program (SEERS) to be deployed in the event of a declared economic emergency as an alternative to the poorly managed, unfair, ad hoc bailouts Congress has enacted during the last two economic crisis.
Workplace Monitors: A Model for Worker Safety, Rights, and Representation
Lindsay Owens proposes a system of universal, democratically elected workplace monitors in all places of work to provide crucial representation for tens of millions of non-unionized workers while serving as a stepping stone to stronger forms of representation.
Oira 2.0: How Regulatory Review Can Help Respond to Existential Threats
Todd N. Tucker and Rajesh D. Nayak propose reforming the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs’ (OIRA) structure and regulatory review process so that it can better support a progressive, equitable, and sustainable agenda.
National Civil Justice Reform: A Proposal for New Federal-State Partnerships
Daniel Wilf-Townsend proposes a civil justice reform package to ensure that vulnerable Americans facing legal problems such as wrongful evictions and contract disputes have the resources they need to secure justice.
A Regulatory Green Light: How Dodd-Frank Can Address Wall Street’s Role in the Climate Crisis
Graham Steele argues that a sustainable shift to green energy requires a significant reallocation of capital from fossil fuels to green energy and that the Dodd-Frank Act provides the regulatory tools to require financial institutions to internalize the financial risks associated with lending and investments that drive climate change.
An Administrative Path to Student Debt Cancellation
Luke Herrine argues that Congress has already given the Department of Education the tools to respond to the $1.6 trillion student debt crisis by cancelling a substantial portion of this debt.
Lowering Drug Prices: A Blueprint for Reform
Julie Margetta Morgan and Steph Sterling lay out the steps a President committed to addressing excessively high drug prices could take to bring down prices without congressional action.
A Homestead Act for the 21st Century
Mehrsa Baradaran proposes a 21st Century Homestead Act that would counteract the legacy of racially discriminatory housing policies by investing in revitalization of distressed communities.
A Blueprint for a New American Trade Policy
Timothy Meyer and Ganesh Sitaraman offer ten recommendations on how to reform American trade policy.
Restoring Democracy through Tax Policy
Jeremy Bearer-Friend offers a bold vision for progressive tax reform that aims directly at wealth concentration.
Taking Antitrust Away from the Courts
Ganesh Sitaraman provides a set of recommendations to restructure the antitrust laws and agencies in order to enhance the government’s ability to enforce antitrust laws more effectively and more transparently.
Central Banking for All: A Public Option for Bank Accounts
Morgan Ricks, John Crawford and Lev Menand offer a proposal to give all Americans access to bank accounts at the Federal Reserve including details of the FedAccounts proposal, its benefits, and merits over other reform proposals like narrow banking, postal banking, and cryptocurrencies.
Unstacking the Deck: A New Agenda to Tame Corruption in Washington
In this joint release from Roosevelt Institute and GDI, Rohit Chopra and Julie Margetta Morgan describe the corrosive problem of money in government and outline an agenda to root out the corruption driving this deep distrust.
Regulating Tech Platforms: A Blueprint for Reform
Ganesh Sitaraman outlines critical steps that policymakers must take to rein in unaccountable tech platforms.