Former Vice President Joe Biden’s campaign is going to extensive lengths to keep its economic advisers shrouded in secrecy.
Biden, whom allies claim is planning a presidency that will radically overhaul the nation’s economy on a scale unseen since the New Deal, has sought out more than 100 left-leaning economists and researchers to provide input on the goal. As such, Biden’s campaign has formed an economic policy committee composed of these outside advisers to help coordinate a blueprint for its governing agenda.
Names of the advisers and the policies under consideration, however, are being guarded closely against public disclosure. The campaign, as reported by The New York Times on Thursday, has imposed strict confidentiality guidelines, telling advisers they are not allowed to circulate emails from the economic policy committee’s leadership or acknowledge their relationship with Biden or his campaign.
“You are not to disclose the names of others who are involved in the committee to nonmembers,” reads a memo obtained by the Times, from the campaign to members of the committee.
The prohibition on Biden’s economic advisers discussing their participation with his campaign extends to social media and press. It does not include friends or family, but members of the committee have been advised to exercise caution.
In April, the former vice president was rebuked by progressives, most notably those allied with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), after it emerged Larry Summers, the onetime Clinton administration treasury secretary, was advising him on economic issues.
Many progressives, in particular, voiced their opposition to Summer’s long-held support for liberalized trade policies and business deregulation. Most notably, they argued his advocacy for the Keystone pipeline and opposition to a wealth tax indicated a friendliness toward Wall Street and corporate America.
Justice Democrats, which has been instrumental in electing progressive firebrands like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) to office, even went to the extent of circulating a petition demanding Biden cut off all ties with the former Clinton administration official.
Regardless of the reasoning, the revelations as to how far Biden’s campaign is going to keep its economic agenda under wraps also comes as the former vice president has begun hinting at the scale of his White House ambitions.
Initially, Biden claimed his impetus for running in 2020 was to defeat President Donald Trump and restore “the soul of the nation.” That message was predicated on the argument that Trump’s administration had only served to divide the country and diminish the progress made during the Obama era. It failed to excite members of the Democrat Party’s progressive faction during the primaries, as exhibited by the drubbing Biden took in the first three nominating contests. The former vice president, though, refused to change strategy, and ultimately bested Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for the nomination, thanks in part to the help of establishment Democrats.
Since the coronavirus pandemic forced businesses to shut down in early-March, stalling the national economy and generating double-digit unemployment, Biden’s calculus seems to have shifted.
“The blinders have been taken off,” Biden told donors during a recent virtual fundraiser. “Because of this COVID crisis, I think people are realizing, ‘My Lord, look at what is possible. Look at the institutional changes we can make.’”