• The Star Staff

Biden’s brain trust on the economy: Liberal and sworn to silence


By Jim Tankersley and Thomas Kaplan


Few aspects of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign are shrouded in as much secrecy as the counsel he receives on the economy: which advisers have the most sway with the presumptive Democratic nominee, what ideas have the greatest currency, and what new policies Biden will ultimately embrace to address the racial inequities now animating protests nationwide.


Some broad contours have become clear. Biden plays down concerns about the deficit during this recession, aides say, and he has begun soliciting ambitious plans to bridge the gap in earnings and wealth between black and white Americans. His regular briefings are by a small group of liberal economists and others with roots in the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. And he sees the economic recovery as his foremost duty if he wins the presidency.


Yet the details of the policymaking process are closely held. Biden is seeking input from more than 100 left-leaning economists and other researchers, but there is little clarity on who among them has true influence. The Biden campaign recently formed an economic policy committee, which includes this wide range of outside experts, and imposed strict rules to ensure their public silence. A three-page document, sent last month before the committee’s first online meeting, warned participants not to circulate email from committee leaders or refer to “the candidate or to the campaign” in documents.


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