Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Clinton's New Economic Brain Center Issues 14 Essays for Transition

An under-the-radar yet increasingly influential Washington think tank has just released a series of essays (14 to be exact) meant to help the next Administration transition its policies for the next several years.

The Washington Center for Equitable Growth (WCEG) released essays on:
  • Minimum wage
  • Income volatility
  • Early childhood development
  • Social security
  • Unemployment insurance reform
  • Labor market mobility
  • Trade and worker welfare
  • Supply chains
  • Consumer credit
  • Wealth transfer taxation
  • Monetary policy
  • Home mortgages
  • Geography of economic inequality
  • Neighborhood segregation.

The full, 124-page report can be found here.  And here is how Bloomberg describes the essays:
While some of the pieces reinforce proposals from the campaign trail -- including universal pre-kindergarten and a boost to the minimum wage -- the authors, almost all professors, offer more-detailed approaches to tackling some of the economy’s most vexing issues.

The Boston Globe notes that the essays were written by 16 academics.

Think Tank Watch wrote about the founding of WCEG back in 2013.  The think tank was founded by John Podesta, a longtime advisor to Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton and the Chairman of the Clinton campaign.  Podesta was also the founder of the Center for American Progress (CAP), a think tank with close connections to the Clintons and the Obama White House.

Actually, WCEG was originally launched within CAP (basically as a think tank within a think tank) but now operates independently at 1500 K Street, NW, just a stones throw from the White House (more on its independence here).

WCEG is currently directed by Heather Boushey, who became the chief economist for the Clinton campaign in August.  This mean that Ms. Boushey will play an outsized roll in a Clinton presidency, and could very well be tapped for a key economic position.

Initial funding of WCEG came from Herb and Marion Sandler, who have also given more than $37 million to CAP.  In return, Podesta asked his think tank team how to push back on scrutiny of the Sandlers related to the 2008 housing collapse, reports Politico.

Notable people on WCEG's steering committee include Melody Barnes (a former top Obama aide) as well as Alan Blinder and Laura Tyson, two former top officials in the Bill Clinton Administration.

We should note that other think tanks have also been competing for Clinton's attention, including the Brookings Institution and Atlantic Council.