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Joe Biden expected to name top economic officials this week

With the picks, Biden is showcasing a commitment to diversity in his advisers and sending a clear message that economic policymaking in his administration will be shaped by liberal thinkers with a strong focus on worker empowerment as a tool for economic growth.

By: New York Times | Washington | Updated: November 30, 2020 8:26:05 am
Joe Biden expected to name top economic officials this weekPresident-elect Joe Biden delivers a holiday address in Wilmington, Delaware, on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020, the day before Thanksgiving. (The New York Times/File)

President-elect Joe Biden is expected to name top members of his economic team this week, including Cecilia Rouse, a Princeton labor economist, to run the Council of Economic Advisers, and Neera Tanden, the chief executive of the Center for American Progress, to lead the Office of Management and Budget, according to people familiar with the matter.

The announcement — which will include Biden’s decision to name Janet Yellen, the former Federal Reserve chair, as Treasury secretary — will culminate in several women in top economic roles, including the first Black woman to lead the Council of Economic Advisers. All three jobs require Senate confirmation.

With the picks, Biden is showcasing a commitment to diversity in his advisers and sending a clear message that economic policymaking in his administration will be shaped by liberal thinkers with a strong focus on worker empowerment as a tool for economic growth.

Two of Biden’s top economic aides during his presidential campaign, Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, will also be named to the Council of Economic Advisers, which is a three-member team that advises the president on economic policy. Both Boushey and Bernstein come from a liberal, labor-oriented school of economics that views rising inequality as a threat to the economy and emphasizes government efforts to support and empower workers.

In many ways, his team is unified by a commitment to running the economy hot — with strong growth and low unemployment — in order to drive up wages. And it is likely to signal an embrace of spending to help workers, businesses and local governments recover from the pandemic recession, regardless of the effect on the federal budget deficit.

“President Biden’s appointments show that he is quadrupling down on his commitment to working people and raising wages,” said Jason Furman, an economist at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and the former head of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama. “He has appointed four of the best labor market economists in the country to head the Treasury and the Council of Economic Advisers.”

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