Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Think Tankers Advising Joe Biden on Economy

The New York Times (NYT) recently had a piece on who presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is turning to for advice on the economy, and a handful of think tankers and those with close ties to think tanks were named.

NYT says that his regular briefings are by a small group of liberal economists and other with roots in the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign.  Here is more:

Mr. Biden is now seeking input from more than 100 left-leaning economists and other researchers, but there is little clarity on who has true influence. The Biden campaign recently formed an economic policy committee, which includes these outside experts, and imposed strict rules to ensure their public silence. 
Conversations with policy experts close to the Biden campaign suggest that Mr. Biden has thus far leaned on a core group of advisers who roughly match his own ideological standing within a Democratic Party that has steadily moved left since Barack Obama won the White House in 2008. Mr. Biden appears to have widened that group to include some of the young and sharply progressive thinkers who drove the policy debate leftward during much of the 2020 Democratic primary campaign.
Campaign officials refused multiple requests to detail Mr. Biden’s economic brain trust. They did confirm that Mr. Biden receives regular briefings from a group of advisers that includes at least three liberal economists who are firmly rooted in the party’s Washington establishment: Jared Bernstein and Ben Harris, two former chief economists for Mr. Biden from his time in the White House, and Heather Boushey, who was the top economist for Mrs. Clinton’s transition team when she was the Democratic nominee in 2016.

Jared Bernstein is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP), Ben Harris served as a Senior Research Associate with the Urban Institute and Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center after leaving the Obama Administration, and Heather Boushey is President, CEO, and Co-founder of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.

Another person giving Biden advice on economic issues, Lawrence Summers, chairs the board of the Center for Global Development (CGD).  He is also an advisor to The Hamilton Project (an economic initiative of the Brookings Institution), The Hutchins Center on Fiscal & Monetary Policy (also at Brookings), and the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE).  He is also a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress (CAP).

Byron Auguste, another person mentioned in the article, is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and a board member of the Washington Center for Equitable Growth.  Indivar Dutta-Gupta was a Senior Policy Advisor at CBPP and was a Bill Emerson National Hunger Fellow and then a consultant to the Poverty Task Force at CAP.

Jake Sullivan, who reportedly joins in on some of the economic talks, used to work for former Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.

Another economic adviser is Jack Lew, a former Treasury Secretary in the Obama Administration.  He is a member of CFR and on the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project advisory board.

Although not mentioned in the article, Anthony Blinken, a top foreign policy advisor to Biden, previously served as a Senior Fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Joe Biden himself has two think tank-like entities that are housed within universities: the Biden Institute at the University of Delaware and the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy & Engagement at the University of Pennsylvania.  Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) has called for an investigation of the latter, citing concerns about accusations of undisclosed donations from Chinese sources.