President-elect Joe Biden’s
Biden is nominating
They’re set to join an administration whose economic policy will take important cues from another towering figure in the profession: former Fed chair
The three appointees will add an extra reserve of intellectual firepower behind the new administration’s objectives. Rouse, Bernstein and Boushey -- along with Yellen -- have all pushed for more fiscal stimulus as the surging virus threatens a fledgling recovery.
“We’re seeing what inequality does to do the economy -- it makes the economy much more fragile and it makes it harder and more expensive to repair it,” said
Seat at Table
The naming of the economists to fill the relatively small CEA is also a sign of how seriously the incoming administration takes the agency that under President Donald Trump was often short-staffed.
“Having two close advisers to Biden at the CEA, that guarantees that the CEA will have a seat at the table,” said
Even with such hands at Treasury and on the council, Biden’s achievements will depend on his ability to get legislation through a Senate that may remain under Republican control following early January run-off elections for Georgia’s two seats.
Biden has vowed to “build back better” an economy that before the pandemic had made significant strides in chipping away at inequality along racial and income lines.
The gap between the Black and White unemployment rates, which was more than double for Black Americans during much of the past half-century, reached its narrowest point on record last year. The poverty rate had fallen to a 60-year
But those gains are under threat as the pandemic has
Notably missing among the three CEA appointments is a specialist in macroeconomics, Sahm said. Even so, Rouse, Bernstein and Boushey are each well-regarded labor economists -- and such expertise will be necessary with 11 million people unemployed.
Rouse is currently the dean of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. She was a member of the CEA under President
Rouse’s research has highlighted the benefits of closing the education gap between White Americans and Americans of color.
“The Biden administration is clearly committed to this sort of thesis of, ‘How do we incorporate racial justice in every aspect of this administration?’” said
Bernstein is also a veteran of the Clinton and Obama White Houses and Boushey was chief economist for Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential transition team. They were both senior advisers to the Biden campaign and come from the left-leaning Washington think-tank world.
Biden has outlined a plan that includes raising the minimum wage -- which Boushey has argued for -- as well as increased union power and boosting taxes on the wealthy.
Bernstein’s call for the Fed to specifically target the Black unemployment rate when setting policy is part of a larger movement within economics that acknowledges the economy can run much “hotter” than previously thought without causing outsize inflation. The result is a tighter labor market that draws in previously marginalized workers.
Bernstein tweeted on Monday that he’s “excited to get to work with my awesome new colleagues in fast pursuit of full employment and a recovery that reaches everyone.”
(Updates with official announcement starting in second paragraph, economist’s comment in fifth paragraph.)
--With assistance from
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