2021 in Review
December 10, 2021
How the American Rescue Plan has driven our recovery.
The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.
The Year the American Rescue Plan Made
This year’s economic recovery—eight times faster than that of the Great Recession—is no accident.
It’s a direct result of the American Rescue Plan.
As Roosevelt’s Mike Konczal and Emily DiVito write, “Everything, from rapid job growth on down, was a choice based on prioritizing full employment. That was the right decision.”
That central design choice of the American Rescue Plan has had cascading effects throughout the year. More jobs, higher wages, and the Child Tax Credit have created greater economic security—particularly for those who’ve been left behind in most recoveries, like Black and brown workers. And that greater security has allowed people to find new jobs, demand better working conditions, and take collective labor action, as Starbucks’s first union can attest to.
Because of the American Rescue Plan, the US economy is now projected to reach pre-pandemic levels in 2022—and millions have been, and will be, better off because of it.
Significant challenges remain, as Konczal and DiVito note: “The shift in spending from services to goods has overwhelmed our supply chains and led to surprising inflation. More research is needed to understand how inflation will evolve next year.” (Roosevelt’s Lauren Melodia has some ideas for local, state, and federal policymakers in the latest issue of The Nation.)
“Amid these challenges, it’s easy to take the successes so far for granted,” Konczal and DiVito write. “But these hard-fought political victories deserve a central place in the story of this recovery.”
The pause on federal student loan payments is currently set to expire on January 31, 2022.
As Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley wrote this week in a letter to President Biden, the administration shouldn’t just extend that pause; it should—and can—cancel student debt.
“I’m standing with @SenWarren and @RepPressley because new data from @RooseveltInst is showing that restarting student loan payments will undermine economic progress for so many families,” Leader Schumer tweeted.
That finding, courtesy of Roosevelt’s Alí Bustamante: If the Biden administration allows the pause on student loan payments to expire, “approximately $7.12 billion a month and $85.48 billion annually will be stripped from 18,125,800 student loan borrowers’ budgets”—and Black and Latino households would be disproportionately harmed.
“Based on our analysis, we recommend that the Biden administration should take the lessons learned from the student loan payment pause and implement a full cancellation of student debt via executive order,” Bustamante writes.
What We’re Reading and Listening to
The Rise of Neoliberalism [podcast feat. Roosevelt’s Felicia Wong] – White Picket Fence
How Is the US Economy Doing? – New York Times
Building Power to Remake the Economy: Six Movement Lessons – Nonprofit Quarterly