Justice40’s Transformative Potential

April 22, 2022

Ensuring an equitable climate transition.

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

The Need for Justice40

This Earth Day, we must recognize what policymakers have so often failed to: environmental racism. 

From air and water pollution to natural disasters, environmental and climate-related impacts have always hurt disadvantaged communities the most—the legacy of racist policies and entrenched power disparities. As the climate transition unfolds, that pattern will continue unless government takes proactive measures.

The Biden administration’s Justice40 policy is one such measure. Part of a January 2021 executive order, it established a federal goal that 40 percent of climate-related investments be targeted to benefit communities experiencing the repercussions of environmental racism and the greatest risks from climate change.

In a new report, Roosevelt Deputy Director of Climate Policy Lew Daly examines the policy from a budgetary perspective. His analysis points to misalignment between Justice40’s anti-racist goals and other federal policies, underscoring the need to adhere to Justice40 goals and principles in all federal spending.

“As it becomes increasingly clear that public investment and intervention are essential for protecting us from climate catastrophe, the old adage that budgets are moral documents will meet its sternest test,” Daly writes. 

“If we pass the test on climate, whether the communities most harmed by the fossil fuel economy are included and uplifted in our newly invested zero-emissions future is the transformative question Justice40 asks of policymakers and advocates alike.”

Read more about the report in “A New Administrative Architecture for Justice40,” authored by Daly and Roosevelt Director of Climate Policy Rhiana Gunn-Wright.


Taxation for Equity

“Beyond raising revenue, the tax code shapes our economy—too often in favor of the wealthy and well-connected,” write Roosevelt’s Joseph Miller and Emily DiVito. 

But recent proposals like windfall taxes and stock buyback taxes have the potential to both rebalance the scales and bolster our economy. 

“In addition to ensuring the uber-wealthy pay their fair share, these proposals would result in structural reforms to increase competition, productivity, resilience, and equity in the economy,” they write. 

Read on in “How the Tax Code Can Create a More Equal Economy.”


Join the Conversation

Join us this coming Wednesday, April 27 from 1–2 pm ET for the exclusive virtual launch of American Prospect co-founder Robert Kuttner’s new book, Going Big: FDR’s Legacy, Biden’s New Deal, and the Struggle to Save Democracy—featuring a foreword by Roosevelt Chief Economist Joseph Stiglitz. 

Challenging the view that President Biden needs to move to the center, Kuttner makes a compelling case that New Deal-style boldness can strengthen our multiracial democracy and economy—and take back America from Trumpism.

At Wednesday’s event, Kuttner and The Sum of Us author Heather McGhee will discuss the legacy of the New Deal, its lessons for today, and the potential of this moment.

Register now.


What We’re Reading

“That’s The Point”: Why Student Loan Debt Cancellation Is about Racial Justice [feat. Roosevelt’s Darrick Hamilton and Naomi Zewde] – The Grio

​​How Outlawing Stock Buybacks Would Protect the Power Gains of American Workers’ Recent Union Wins – Business Insider

American Companies Have Always Been More Anti-Union than International Ones. Here’s WhyTime

How Biden Can Help the Climate on Earth Day—without CongressThe New Republic