2023’s Biggest Economic Ideas

December 21, 2023

We look back at the year in progressive policy.

The Roosevelt Rundown features our top stories of the week.

2023 in Review

In 2023, the Roosevelt Institute celebrated economic justice wins and championed bold new ideas to make our economy and democracy work for the many, not the few.

In Sea Change: How a New Economics Went Mainstream, we took a look at the people, institutions, and movements that made today’s shifts in economic thinking possible. The idea that the government should play a role in shaping markets is deeply embedded in some of these major shifts, and in our Industrial Policy Synergies series, six former Biden administration officials wrote about how collaboration across different policy domains—from climate to labor—can help make better industrial policy.

This year, we also wrote about how combating the climate crisis requires not only speed, but also democratic input from communities as well as divestment from fossil fuels—a move that will both enable the transition to renewable energy and stabilize prices in the long term.

Inflation plummeted in 2023, and we wrote about how a supply-side expansion is what eased a largely supply-side problem. In a midyear conversation on labor market trends, we discussed how real wages are up and unemployment is down.

Labor unions enjoyed resounding success this year, with thousands of workers going on strike and winning contracts with huge gains. We wrote about the potential of sectoral bargaining to further promote economic democracy at this moment, and the need to support struggling sectors like care work through industrial policy.

The year wasn’t all wins—the end of the expanded child tax credit and affirmative action are just some examples that illustrate the work remaining to build an equitable, multiracial democracy and economy. Examining the intersection of politics and policy, we wrote about how deliverism—delivering economic improvements in people’s lives through policy—alone isn’t enough to alleviate the public’s everyday concerns. We explained how policymakers can create positive policy feedback loops to ensure that bold policies light and sustain the fire of future political change.

Our Taxing Monopolies series outlined ways to reform the corporate tax code to deconcentrate markets, and we testified before the Senate on the importance of deposit insurance reform to both protect depositors and stabilize the banking system.

We’ll be back next year with more ideas for creating a new economics that works for all of us.


Building a More Competitive Economy

This week, the Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission announced new merger guidelines that will help protect consumers from corporations’ anticompetitive behavior. Under the new rules, mergers in highly concentrated markets—including Big Tech—will be subject to tougher scrutiny from government regulators.

Expanding on the Biden administration’s revitalized antitrust work, the new rules could help fight inflation along with warding off market consolidation.

Roosevelt’s director of corporate power, Niko Lusiani, called the announcement of the new guidelines a “historic day in the quest to rebalance our upside-down economy based on the rule of law by and for the people.”


What We’re Talking About


What We’re Reading

The US Avoided a Recession in 2023. What’s the Outlook for 2024? – feat. Roosevelt’s Mike Konczal – Pennsylvania Capital-Star

How One Community Is Ensuring It Benefits from a New EV Factory – Grist

$750 a Month, No Questions Asked, Improved the Lives of Homeless PeopleLos Angeles Times [paywall]

Biden Announces Large-Scale Federal Construction Projects Will Now Require Labor Agreements – The Messenger


Note: The Roosevelt Rundown will be on hiatus until January 5.