The Story of Our Future
March 4, 2022
Filling in the gaps of the State of the Union.
The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.
The State of the Union, Analyzed
On the heels of a historic week, President Biden’s first State of the Union address came with reasonably high expectations.
To reassure Americans amid the outbreak of war in Ukraine. To recognize the achievements and challenges of the last year. And most importantly, to tell a story of our nation’s future: the story of how “an equitable and more vibrant economy—high-care, low-carbon, affirmatively inclusive—is required to win the battle for democracy, at home and abroad,” as Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong wrote in The New Republic before the speech.
On that last metric, the speech fell short, failing to explain the existential and intersecting threats climate change and racism pose to our economy and democracy.
“I didn’t hear the story for our collective, multiracial future that I’d hoped for,” Wong tweeted after the speech. “But Biden elevated lots that is good, including some economic sea changes that don’t often get air time.”
Biden affirmed that trickle-down economics doesn’t work, and never did. That corporate profiteering and exploitation have grave consequences, as private equity investment in nursing homes has proven. And that we need to invest in the public good, as a record jobs recovery—fueled by the American Rescue Plan—continues.
Job Growth Remains Strong
Job growth remained high in February, with the economy adding 678,000 jobs—exceeding economists’ forecasts for the second month in a row and contributing to the record 7 million jobs added over the last year.
But the recovery isn’t complete yet, with the pandemic still preventing more than 1 million people from looking for work.
“[W]e can’t let the pandemic win and stop 1+ million persons from dignified work. More can be done to make work and life safer,” Roosevelt’s Alí Bustamante tweeted. “1.5 million jobs deficit in leisure and hospitality is an opportunity to improve job quality and diversify local economies.”
Promoting Public Interest through Supply Chains
“Overshadowed by last week’s Russian invasion of Ukraine was the release of six massive plans from seven federal agencies to strengthen supply chains for everything from high-end semiconductors and solar panels to low-end consumer electronics,” Roosevelt’s Todd N. Tucker writes.
“These plans prioritize active government defining and shaping of markets to promote the public interest.”
What We’re Reading
The Youth Movement Trying to Revolutionize Climate Politics – The New Yorker