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Heil Harvard!

Biden Economic Nominee Turns Out to Be a Radical in All Sorts of Areas

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

On Thursday, the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs will vote on Jared Bernstein, a member of the Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) who has been nominated to be the chair of the CEA. Previous reporting from earlier on Thursday highlighted how Bernstein is a radical nominee on economic matters, especially when he, like so many others in this administration, has a penchant for catering to matters of "equity," and given that he hardly as a responsible viewpoint on owning up to the falsehood that "inflation is transitory."

Bernstein took to expressing many of his views in his op-eds for The Washington Post, which he did for years before coming onto the Biden administration not long after President Joe Biden was elected. As a refresher, among the more noteworthy titles he wrote or at least co-wrote included "Democrats, don’t make the same mistake Republicans keep making" from September 25, 2017;  "Economics used to be all about what we can’t do. That’s finally changing" from December 2, 2019; "The Federal Reserve could help make the job market fairer for black workers," from June 15, 2020; and "The built-in biases in economics that feed systemic racism" from July 2, 2020. 

That op-ed on the federal reserve he co-wrote with Janelle Jones is hardly the only time Bernstein addressed racism. His op-ed from July 11, 2017 co-written by Ben Spielberg for The American Prospect bore the headline "Does the Fed Think Black Lives Matter?"

In it, they claimed "racism persists in all our institutions. A multitude of structural barriers block pathways to economic opportunity across generations of black families, imperil many black Americans’ physical safety, and diminish investment in black communities and businesses... Our criminal justice system, including policing practices, disproportionately oppresses black Americans."

On the presently hot topic issue of racial reparations, as is currently being considered in California, Bernstein has weighed in on that issue as well. In that same op-ed, Bernstein and Spielberg argued that  "The questions before a commission would be complicated: How exactly does one make restitution for several hundred years of injustice? What is the appropriate scope of the injustices addressed? Don’t Native Americans have a strong claim to reparations as well?  But they would also surely be answerable."

When it comes to California, not only are racial reparations a complicated matter from a moral point, they are even more so from a financial point. They're hardly "answerable," as Bernstein and Spielberg surely wish for. The pay out would costs more than twice the amount of California's current state budget.

It's worth wondering if Bernstein shares the same view as Denver City Councilwoman Candi CdeBaca, who says businesses owned by white businesses should be taxed more heavily and redistributed to black owned businesses. 

In his column from December 3, 2020, "I’m joining Biden’s economics team. Here’s some of what I’ll be thinking about," Bernstein also summarized many of his key viewpoints. 

Under the section of "How economics can improve," Bernstein reminded:

— As I wrote this summer, when people criticize the field of economics for its failures around issues of race, the most common critique is the extent to which Whites dominate the profession. It’s an important point and surely one reason economics has done far too little to address racial gaps. But there’s something foundational in the structure of economics that is too accepting about embedded racial injustice: the assumption that markets, left alone, settle into optimal conditions. The problem is that it is impossible “to observe the empirical record of Black economic outcomes and not conclude that market failure is pervasive. Their equilibrium is disequilibrium.”

He also went on to discuss a main viewpoint he holds as it applies to something called "can-do economics." As Bernstein wrote:

— Especially as I undertake this next chapter, I’ve been thinking about “can-do-economics.” This approach to economic policy rejects the view, still too pervasive in the field, that addressing problems such as inequality, climate change, wage stagnation, financial excesses, racial injustice and underinvestment in public goods will backfire by guiding what should be the invisible forces — the free hand — of unfettered markets.

We should all know by now that sometimes the free hand is all thumbs. Even a quick glance at the Biden/Harris agenda — which I informally advised this year, before I agreed to join the administration — shows a thorough rejection of the notion that we can’t meet the challenges ticked off above. It’s impossible to miss the urgency in President-elect Joe Biden’s voice when he asserts that virus control is but the first step of the agenda. The next step is building an economy on the other side of the crisis that’s far more resilient to shocks from pandemics to climate-change-induced floods and fires. It is to craft an agenda that takes on inequality, racial injustice and the struggle for working families to get and stay ahead.

These positions and views are troubling already, as Bernstein, if confirmed to such a promotion, will be having even more responsibilities to handle as the chair of the CEA. Beyond concerns with his economic views, though, and how he relates those to numerous other issues, like race, Bernstein has shown a willingness to get involved in countless other policy matters even more unrelated to the economy beyond when it comes to race. 

While on CNN's "New Day" last May, not long after someone leaked the Dobbs v. Jackson decision which the U.S. Supreme Court used to overturn Roe v. Wade, Bernstein made abortion an economic issue. "Financially, it’s like losing a job. It’s like being evicted. It’s like losing health insurance. It’s like going to the hospital in terms of its impact on their finances... of course, health issue, first and foremost, personal decision. But it is also at its core here an economic issue, particularly for younger women and women of color," he claimed

It's worth reminding Treasury Secretary Yellen had a similar hot take, thus unfortunately putting Bernstein right in line with the Biden administration and their obsessive pro-abortion agenda they feel the need to promote. 

Another op-ed Bernstein wrote with Spielberg for The American Prospect, from April 3, 2017, bears an eye popping headline, "The Progressive Agenda Now: Jobs and Medicare for All." He went on to encourage Democrats to adopt such a view in one of The Washington Post op-eds mentioned above, "Democrats, don’t make the same mistake Republicans keep making," in which he wrote "Democrats must forge a path to universal coverage."

His comments on other topics also put him at odds on what one would expect to hear from an economist, including on the COVID lockdowns. Writing for the Daily Beast in a piece published March 26, 2020, Bernstein suggested "Want to Save the Economy? Listen to Fauci, Not Trump."

The fearmongering is strong, as Bernstein warned layoff numbers would "be even more nightmarish—and more routine—if we prematurely pretend it’s safe to go back to work, shop, and eat out again." He also referred to former and potentially future President Donald Trump's hopes for opening the economy back up as "existentially dangerous." 

A Johns Hopkins study from early last year showed that lockdowns did very little good. 

This is hardly the only instance in which Bernstein went after Trump. In his interview with Capital and Main published on September 14, 2017, he went with the losing leftist narrative when it comes to the results of the 2016 presidential election. 

In response to being asked "Given the income gains for 2015 and 2016, is it fair to conclude that Trump’s victory had less to do with the economic woes of the white working class and more to do with his race-based attacks on immigrants and other minorities?," Bernstein was quick to answer in part that "You cannot conclude that from these or from other data that I’ve looked at. I don’t discount for a second the role of racism, xenophobia, nationalism, gender politics in Trump’s victory — that was all there, in levels that were extremely disturbing [and] bad for our country."

Bernstein spoke to Capital and Main just a few days later once more. When responding to how Trump has claimed credit for the generally strong job and economic-growth numbers since he took office," and "is this legitimate or are we still largely seeing the effects of Obama-era policies," Bernstein claimed that "of course that's not legitimate and further the idea of the Trump administration being successful in that regard.

It's worth noting that the ABC News-Washington Post poll released on Sunday, showed a majority of Americans thought Trump handled the economy better during his time in office than Biden has so far, by 54 percent to 36 percent. 

There's also instances of Bernstein blasting Trump on Twitter, on matters to do with economic policy--such as taxes--and those unrelated.

It's quite possible that Bernstein fears his confirmation is in peril. Curiously enough, his online blog, "On the Economy," has since been taken down, though it was available at the time of his hearing and comprised over a decade of writing. 

An archived post of "The Key to Keystone" from December 27, 2011 argues against the Keystone Pipeline over concerns to do with, you probably guessed it, climate change. "If [stopping Keystone] doesn’t occur soon, then oil from the tar sands will flow, and it will keep flowing until we put a price on carbon or come to our senses, whichever comes first," he closed the post by warning. 

More recently, Bernstein wrote "Don't Even Fool Around With The Debt Ceiling," an ironic title given today's circumstances, on October 22, 2015. In it, he called for printing a platinum coin, even though he acknowledges the Treasury Department and White House "have been unequivocal in rejecting that approach, as they do not believe they have the authority to mint such a coin." He went on to write "I don’t know if that’s legally accurate, but I’ve seen enough scholarly arguments on the other side (arguing the Treasury does have such authority) that if it really came to default, I’d mint the coin in a New-York minute. Yes, the opposition would take legal action, but believe me, the White House is plenty lawyered up."

An even more recent post, from February 5, 2016, "Obama’s new oil fee idea and the increase in miles driven," shows that Bernstein supports policies, including even the Green New Deal, that encourage government intervention to penalize fossil fuel companies and raise energy prices. 

"...I like the new idea from the White House to phase in, over five years, a $10 fee per barrel of oil, both domestic and imported... they’re thinking of this as far more than just another way to boost the federal gas tax. It’s part of an agenda to clean up transportation writ large," he wrote in part.

Given how much he's solidified himself as a radical like the rest of the Biden administration, it sadly comes as no surprise that the tone deaf president is looking to reward Bernstein with a promotion. 


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