A True New Deal: Building an Inclusive Economy in the COVID-19 Era outlines nine essential policy proposals that would address our current crisis, rebalance power in our economy, and build the institutions necessary to seed lasting, equitable change:

  • canceling student, housing, and medical debts—and implementing structural
  • change to address the accumulation of debt;
  • creating a federal jobs guarantee;
  • federalizing and expanding unemployment insurance;
  • building a modern Reconstruction Finance Corporation;
  • guaranteeing universal childcare;
  • mandating sectoral bargaining;
  • ensuring corporate accountability through federal chartering;
  • reinvigorating antitrust law for real trust-busting; and
  • rebalancing political power through institutional reform.

America is in crisis. The COVID-19 pandemic has sickened nearly 4 million people and killed more than 155,000, with no end in sight. The economy is collapsing—driven by COVID-19, to be sure, but also by much deeper underlying vulnerabilities that dictate the depth, breadth, and distribution of suffering. The sheer magnitude of this crisis can seem overwhelming, especially as it continues to expose and exacerbate the fragility of a US economy marked by profound racial and economic inequality.

These challenges call to mind those that President Franklin D. Roosevelt faced in 1932 as he prepared to take office. Similar to today, FDR’s America needed bold, inventive government action to protect families, stabilize the economy, and build a more stable future. FDR’s success in reshaping the American economy and society can and should serve as inspiration for responses to our country’s present challenges, but as we draw inspiration from the New Deal’s history, we must be careful to heed all of its lessons.

Throughout US history, moments of transformative public change—including the New Deal—have often compromised and sacrificed the economic interest and overall well-being of Black people and other groups. Today’s New Deal must be different, dismantling policy choices that reward and replicate white supremacy and patriarchy, reclaiming public power from private hands, and building institutions that ensure broadly shared prosperity.

A True New Deal: Building an Inclusive Economy in the COVID-19 Era makes the compelling case for an actualized New Deal—a structural policy agenda that, by leading with inclusion, will not only tide us through the ongoing COVID-19 crisis but build a more resilient, equitable, and moral 21st century economy. One that creates a foundation for everyone—of all races—to thrive. As this report shows, achieving fully realized economic justice is within reach, and this could be the moment for such change. A true, inclusive New Deal for the 21st century can help us reclaim power for the people today, tomorrow, and for generations to come.