Wednesday, November 6, 2013

John Podesta's New Think Tank on Inequality

Another day in Washington, another think tank.

This time, John Podesta, an advisor to President Barack Obama and Bill and Hillary Clinton, is starting a think tank called Washington Center for Equitable Growth, or WCEG (not be be confused with the Center for Equitable Growth run out of the University of Berkeley) which will investigate the causes and effects of growing income inequality.

The new think tank will be housed within an existing think tank, the Center for American Progress (CAP), a think tank that Podesta founded in 2003.  Podesta is currently the Chairman of CAP and its political arm, the Center for American Progress Action Fund (CAPAF).

Heather Boushey will reportedly become Executive Director of the new think tank.  J. Brad DeLong, an economic blogger, which reportedly move much of his writing to the new think tank.  Podesta will be the think tank's Chairman.

Initial funding for the think tank is reportedly coming from the Sandler Foundation,  a charitable foundation founded in 1991.  Sandler Foundation already supports a variety of other think tanks, including the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and the Tax Policy Center (TPC).

Want to work at the new think tank?  Here is a job announcement showing that WCEG is looking for economists or senior economists.  Here is a posting seeking an economics blogger.  Here is a posting seeking a data vizualizer/multimedia specialist.

Here is more from The New York Times.  Here is what Brad DeLong has to say about WCEG.

In related news, Matthew Continetti recently wrote a piece in The Washington Free Beacon titled "The Podesta Era" with the subtitle "How the Center for American Progress Conquered America."

Here are some excerpts:
Over the last decade the Center for American Progress, also known as CAP, and its political arm, the CAP Action Fund, have established themselves among the most influential policy and activist organizations in America. CAP has revenues of $34 million. Its alumni occupy positions inside the Obama administration, in media, in business, and in the academy...CAP exerts a pull over the Democratic Party like no other liberal institution. The right has no equivalent.
CAP’s power flows from two sources. The first is structural: John Podesta, CAP’s founder, is an expert at combining the Democratic Party platform with favor trading. He separated the tax-deductible, educational side of his think tank from the tax-exempt, political side. He lined up support from George Soros, from subprime mortgage kingpins Herb and Marion Sandler, from the secret donors behind the Democracy Alliance. He created a Business Alliance that solicited corporate and foreign contributions in exchange for “network-building” and “policy education” and other euphemisms for lobbying. Members of the Business Alliance reportedly include Boeing, GE, Goldman Sachs, Comcast, Walmart, and the Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists of Turkey—you know, the little guys.
Podesta used the CAP Action Fund’s website,, to nudge the mainstream media in an ideological direction. A former lobbyist whose brother still runs the family firm, Podesta harnessed the power generated by the revolving door.

More coming...