Mon, Nov 30, 2020

FAST THINKING: A speed read on Team Bidenomics

Fast Thinking by Atlantic Council

Related Experts: Josh Lipsky,

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U.S. President-elect Joe Biden delivers a pre-Thanksgiving speech at his transition headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, U.S., November 25, 2020. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Just in

Joe Biden has selected a slate of economic advisers that just might please his party while also (mostly) surviving confirmation in a potentially Republican-controlled Senate. (Here at the Atlantic Council, the timing of the announcement is just right, as tomorrow marks the launch of our GeoEconomics Center.) We turned to Josh Lipsky, its founding director, for a quick look at what makes Biden’s selections unique.

Today’s expert reaction courtesy of

  • Josh Lipsky (@joshualipsky): Former IMF and US State Department official and director, policy and programs, of the GeoEconomics Center


  • Josh says Biden’s economic team is “one of the most progressive ever assembled” and that their track record suggests they “will likely focus on full employment and ‘running the economy hot.’ This is a different team than the one [Obama] assembled during the 2009 Global Financial Crisis. And this is a different crisis. You can expect less focus on debt and deficits from this group despite an increase in those concerns from Capitol Hill.”
  • We explained in a previous edition how Biden’s choice of Janet Yellen to head the Treasury Department would elevate a proponent of inclusive growth. Josh sees Biden’s selections for the Council of Economic Advisers as another push in the same direction. They include Princeton’s Cecilia Rouse, the nominee for CEA chair, who would become the first black woman to head the Council, as well as Jared Bernstein and Heather Boushey, who had been advising Biden during his campaign.
  • “They will look for policies that boost employment for those hardest hit by COVID-19,” Josh tells us. “Wage growth in particular has been an area of focus for this team in the past, so I would not be surprised to see a push for a fifteen dollar national minimum wage become a major piece of Biden’s domestic economic agenda.”

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  • Adewale “Wally” Adeyemo, a Nigerian-born expert in global economics, is Biden’s choice to serve as Yellen’s deputy. His nomination is another signal that the new administration will “make international economics a priority,” Josh says. “Adeyemo has a history of working with the International Monetary Fund through its reform process and reaching out through the G7 and G20 on coordinating economic stimulus. Combined with Dr. Yellen, this may be the most internationally minded leadership team in the department’s history.”


  • Biden also selected Neera Tanden, president of the Center for American Progress, to run the Office of Management and Budget. She’d be the first woman of color in the role. But Tanden is also seen by some as a more partisan figure who could face a tough battle for Senate confirmation.
  • That aside, Josh sees today’s announcements as an important step toward meeting the president-elect’s vow to assemble a diverse administration: “Biden promised to build an economic team that looked like America, and with the first female treasury secretary, the first woman of color to lead OMB, and the first African American woman to chair the CEA, he is doing precisely that.”


Tune in tomorrow for the launch of the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center, which will feature a conversation with European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde. Positioned at the intersection of finance, foreign policy, and economics, the team at the new center will guide you through the transition and what comes next for the global economy.

Further reading