Two Historic Executive Orders, All of Government

April 21, 2023

Biden’s new approach to care and environmental justice.

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

A Whole-of-Government Approach

With two Rose Garden announcements this week, President Biden recognized an essential truth: Care and environmental justice must be national priorities, and it will take all of government to help make that happen.

On Tuesday, the president signed an executive order that includes directives across government to support efforts that will increase access and lower costs for childcare and eldercare.

“Almost every federal agency will collectively take over 50 actions to provide more peace of mind for families and dignity for care workers,” he said.

And this afternoon, President Biden announced an executive order that will similarly drive action on environmental justice across agencies—and create a new White House Office of Environmental Justice.

Together, these executive actions shepherd the power of government toward a common goal: industrial policy in service of a high-care, low-carbon economy.

On Tuesday, April 25, we’ll be taking a deeper dive into the administration’s strategy with a new report—Industrial Policy Synergies: Reflections from Biden Administration Alumni.

This collection of essays brings together the ideas and reflections of six former administration officials—Sameera Fazili, Jane Flegal, Jennifer Harris, Janelle Jones, K. Sabeel Rahman, and Tim Wu—who helped bring industrial policy to the forefront of US economic policy over the past two years. The collection also includes a foreword by Todd N. Tucker, Roosevelt’s director of industrial policy and trade.

Watch this space.


We Can Defeat Zero-Sum Politics

As policy advocate Heather McGhee wrote about in her New York Times bestselling book The Sum of Us, a “zero-sum mindset” has altered many white people’s support for public goods and services because they falsely believe progress for people of color must come at their expense.

On a new episode of How to Save a Country—taped in front of a live audience at the Hewlett Foundation’s New Common Sense Conference in March—McGhee talks with hosts Felicia Wong and Michael Tomasky about how to combat that mentality: by working across our differences to achieve a common good, and creating what she calls a “solidarity dividend.”

“There are gains, real gains, that we can unlock—cleaner air and water, higher wages, better funded schools—but through the power of cross-racial solidarity,” she explained.

McGhee, Wong, and Tomasky also talk about how powerful stories shape our beliefs and politics; how housing, inequality, and racial segregation are linked; and how neoliberalism undercut the aspirations of the civil rights movement.

Listen now, and follow for new podcast episodes every Thursday.


What We’re Reading

We’ve Been Measuring the Economy All Wrong [feat. Roosevelt chief economist Joseph Stiglitz]The Atlantic

America’s Inflation Antihero Gets a Makeover [feat. Roosevelt fellow Lev Menand]New York Times

What “Electrify Everything” Actually Looks LikeMother Jones

Biden’s New Green Jobs Are Boosting Purple and Red StatesThe New Yorker