The Supreme Court’s March Backward

June 30, 2023

And what happens next

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

How SCOTUS’s Decisions Will Harm Americans

As was widely expected, the Supreme Court chose inequality in its final cases of the term.

On student debt, affirmative action, and LGBTQ+ rights, the court has reversed decades of hard-won gains for civil rights and racial justice—leaving millions less economically secure and with fewer protections.

In new analysis, Roosevelt experts Alí Bustamante and Shahrzad Shams break down what this week’s decisions on student debt and affirmative action will mean for our economy and for equality.

The rejection of student relief for 43 million borrowers, Bustamante notes, will widen the racial wealth gap between white and Black Americans and reduce economic security when interest and loan payments resume this fall.

“In effect, the court has prevented the Biden administration from correcting the policy mistakes of the past and locked in bad educational policy for several more years,” he writes.

And as Shams explains, the decisions to strike down affirmative action in higher education will impede action against systemic racism in far-reaching ways.

“[T]he court’s decisions have implications well beyond college and university admissions. We can expect that actors seeking to maintain white supremacy throughout American society will invoke the majority’s reasoning in a whole host of other policy areas.”

Read more:


Where Bidenomics Should Go Next

In a major speech on Wednesday, President Biden leaned into the Bidenomics brand, making the case not only for the economic successes of the last two years but for the break from Reaganomics they represent.

The economy must grow “from the middle out and the bottom up, instead of just the top down. When that happens, everybody does well,” he said.

The successes of that approach are substantial, as Roosevelt President and CEO Felicia Wong wrote in response to the speech. “The country is better off because Bidenomics invests in people, in places, and in a strong labor market.”

Finishing the job, and moving beyond neoliberalism, will depend on what happens next.

“[F]ully realizing FDR-style transformation will require even more, including finally recognizing the economic and social importance of remaking the care sector—everything from childcare to elder care—and tackling radically concentrated wealth, still the beating heart of the failed system,” Wong writes.

Read more in “Bidenomics Has Changed Our Policymaking. Here’s Where It Needs to Go Next.


The Unfinished Business of Saving Democracy

Over the last two seasons of How to Save a Country, hosts Felicia Wong and Michael Tomasky have talked with politicians, superstar activists, and renowned academics—from Sen. Elizabeth Warren to economist Thomas Piketty.

In the final episode of the podcast, they’re taking a look back, and hashing out debates they’ve had between themselves along the way: What’s the real difference between “progressive” and “liberal”? What big projects should the left set their sights on, and which are politically out of reach? And how well does “the middle out” work as a descriptor for post-neoliberalism?

“I hope that in the years to come, we can look back on this capsule of conversations that we’ve had over the last few seasons and see that we captured a moment in time. Right on the cusp of changing the economic paradigm, but before that paradigm was fully instantiated,” says Wong.

“And I hope that we can see these conversations as a prelude maybe to a new way of organizing, organizing our economy, organizing our democracy, organizing and fighting for our vision of freedom.”

Listen to every episode of How to Save a Country here.


How to Stabilize Our Banking System

Earlier this year, the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), Signature Bank, and First Republic Bank (FRB) rocked the global financial system—and cast doubts about whether the current structure of federal deposit insurance (FDI) can truly prevent panics.

“Deposit insurance has been a lynchpin to US financial stability and a godsend to otherwise-anxious depositors since the Great Depression,” Roosevelt’s Emily DiVito writes in a new brief.

“To ensure FDI always serves those functions well and when needed, policymakers must consider what shortcomings and opportunities for reform—if any—the SVB, Signature, and FRB crises have revealed about the current system.”

Learn more about the options for deposit insurance reform.


What We’re Reading

Joe Biden Tries to Change the Narrative on the EconomyThe New Yorker

My Hometown Is Getting a $100 Billion Dose of BidenomicsThe Atlantic

The Supreme Court Just Struck Down Biden’s Student Loan Forgiveness Plan. Here’s Plan B. – Vox

“Race Neutral” Is the New “Separate but Equal”The Atlantic


Note: The Roosevelt Rundown will be on hiatus until July 14.