The election of President-elect Joe Biden to fill key economic positions in the administration underscores the commitment to amass a wide range of brain trust to support an economy struggling with the revival of Covid-19.
In addition to appointing former Federal Reserve President Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary, Biden Obama has also appointed former economic adviser Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo as Deputy Treasury Secretary. Adeyemo is currently president of the Obama Foundation.
Neera Tanden was nominated to head the Office of Administration and Budget. Tanden is president and CEO of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning presidency, and has a long history of working with democratic administrations, including under President Barack Obama as senior advisor on health care reform.
Biden Cecilia Rouse has also appointed labor economist, dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs, as chair of the White House Economic Advisory Council. Two older members of his economic inner circle, Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, will be members of the Council.
“By far, Biden’s two top priorities are dealing with the pandemic and the economic consequences,” said Stephen Myrow, managing partner at Beacon Policy Advisors, a policy research firm. “It primarily looks for people with a certain amount of experience and prefers people with whom you already have a working relationship.”
With this potential economic team, Biden contrasts both President Donald Trump’s policies and his ideological priorities by embracing diversity. If confirmed by the Senate, the number of Biden’s candidates will be first for women and minorities: Yellen will be the first woman to head the Treasury, and Adeyemo will be the first African-American Secretary of State. Tanden would be the first colorful woman – and the first South American American – to lead the Office of Administration and Budget, and Rouse would be the first African-American to lead the council of economic advisors.
“Diversity is a huge priority and probably one that has long been due at this level of government,” said Mark Hamrick, senior economic analyst at Bankrate.com. “By disseminating a wide range of opinions, we can ideally come up with better solutions.”
– This is Scranton Joe. Work is key.
The predominance of labor economists did not go unnoticed by political observers, who said it telegraphed the administration’s top priority. “This is Joe Scranton,” Myrow said. “Work is key.”
As the last two weeks of unemployment reports have reversed the slowdown in the labor market, job reintegration should be a top priority for incoming administrations.
“Unemployment remains historically high,” Hamrick said. “It will be key for this administration to address both cyclical and structural unemployment [because] both income and wealth inequalities have been severely exacerbated by this downturn, ”he said, disproportionately large part of the low-income minority population is suffering from economic pain.
In this context, it makes sense for Biden to choose people with Obama-era experience. The Great Recession was an economic crisis triggered by a financial crisis. The economy that Biden and his team will inherit from Trump is heading for a downturn stemming from the protracted public health crisis. “Obviously, there are certain skills that lie in crisis management. I think we’re here with the experience and the existing working relationships, ”Myrow said.
However, Biden’s idea may fail if the GOP retains control of the senate. While some candidates, such as Yellen, have a long history of supporting lawmakers in both parties, observers say some of the other names are harder to confirm.
Observers said Tanden in particular emerged as a likely target for the early clash. “A little lightning rod,” Myrow said. “He’s tangled with a lot of Republicans over the years,” he said, also outraged by Hillary Clinton’s 2016 support from the left wing of the Democratic Party, who believed that that support would lead to the cost of Clinton’s rival. Bernie Sanders.
“Republicans want to overthrow someone,… He’s the one who is most clearly in their line of sight,” Myrow said, as Tanden may have a leaner support option than other candidates.
“Biden’s ability to do business can be put to the test,” Hamrick said.
While these selections are considered safe, centrist, and experienced – this list reflects Biden’s long mandate in Washington and his reputation as a consensus-maker.
Biden’s selections are mostly seen as safe, centrist, and experienced – reflecting his reputation as a consensus builder.
The unfilled roles are also informative, experts say. Beacon’s policy advisers ’analysis of the economic advisors that Biden relied on during the campaign pointed to left-wing positions held by many within him. This led to the speculation that economic positions for which the administration had not yet appointed appointees would be more moderate.
“Cecilia Rouse is highly educated, but CEA’s position is largely symbolic,” said Michael Munger, a professor of political science at Duke University. “The real economic advice is from Brian Deese, BlackRock.”
Deese was currently the executive director and global leader in sustainable investment in investment affairs and an adviser to the Obama White House on climate policy and energy. The Biden team did not officially nominate him, although The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, fell head of Biden’s International Economic Council.
“Rouse can take a public stand on diversity and inequality, and Deese can give advice in the usual way in the oval office,” Munger said.
First, by disclosing left-leaning names, Biden may be trying to prevent dissatisfaction on the left side of Democratic insurgents. “In terms of progressive and moderate, the CEA seems to be a strong progressive base,” Myrow said. “Assuming Deese gets an NEC, that might be considered more moderate.”
Calculations to alleviate progressives can pay off by neutralizing future objections to multiple centrist appointments.
“There is an economic crisis and it is doubtful whether Democrats will have a majority in the Senate. Biden needs to turn to the center, ”Munger said.