Remembering a Long Pandemic Year

Todd N. Tucker
3 min readJan 24, 2022


This “long pandemic year” (2020–21) has been brutal in many respects, but there were also some important gains worth celebrating.

Here’s my late-to-the-party “year end” recap / reasons for optimism / shoutout / gratitude thread.

First, the US at long last openly adopted the need for the types of industrial policy that our economic competitors use. (…) And there’s movement in Congress to fund such an industrial policy. (…) And there’s an actual infrastructure bill signed into law that promotes industrial policy. Thanks to the work of @ChrisMurphyCT and many others, Buy American rules will start to mean what they sound like. (…) And there’s the most comprehensive stocktaking in US history of the challenges posed by the chaotic state of globalized supply chains. And there’s expanded use of executive powers like the Defense Production Act (DPA) to fight the pandemic, with room to achieve more wins like jumpstarting domestic solar panel production and green steel.

Second, there’s the biggest overhaul to trade policy in at least a generation, with the US and EU setting up a new green steel club to take on one of the most serious environmental and industrial challenges of our time. (…)

Third, policymakers are remaking the little-known Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) so that it supports rather than hinders ambitious regulation. (…)

Fourth, we’re set for the biggest overhaul to corporate income tax in history, opening up the possibility of an end to corporations’ race to the bottom — as @JosephEStiglitz @Gabriel_Zucman and I wrote for @ForeignAffairs. (…)

Fifth, we have movement towards a new and more sustainable political economy philosophy in international governance networks through the G7’s new Cornwall Consensus, as @FeliciaWongRI writes here. (…)

Sixth, the US is on the cusp of a major step to true democracy with nearly the entire progressive ecosystem uniting in favor of filibuster reform (…) And court reform… (…) And DC statehood. ( This unity around deepening democracy is already changing the default positions for those campaigning for elected office, meaning that change will come. (…)

Last but not least, in everything from staffing to executive action, we have an administration more committed to the power of labor unions and working people than any in a long time. (…)

I’m lucky to work at @RooseveltInst, which has been ahead of the curve on supporting a new vision in each of these areas.

Turning to the personal, I enjoyed the privilege of public service… (…)

Getting a White House shoutout for a @monkeycageblog piece with @bentleyballan (…)

Restarting teaching my @JohnsHopkins class with @lipstickecon and great students after a COVID 2020 pause… Completing more puzzles than I thought I would complete in a lifetime… And discovering exciting new music near and far from home. (…)

Looking ahead to 2022, my resolutions: less screen time, fewer podcasts, and more history audiobooks. Have already enjoyed @zachdcarter @Hoyer_Kat and @DGJones, the latter with a retelling of European history through the prism of climate change. (…) May 2022 be a healthy and happy year to all!

(Adapted from this thread.)



Todd N. Tucker

Director, Industrial Policy & Trade, Roosevelt Institute / Roosevelt Forward. Teach, Johns Hopkins. PhD. Political scientist researching economic transitions.