Biden Economic Adviser Nominee Backs Green New Deal, Tying Fed Policy to Black Unemployment Rate

Jared Bernstein listens during his confirmation hearing to be the chair of the White House
AP Photo/Alex Brandon

Jared Bernstein, President Joe Biden’s nomination to be chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, has supported the Green New Deal, higher gas taxes, a wealth tax, and tying Federal Reserve policy to the black unemployment rate.

In a 2019 op-ed for Vox when he was the senior fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Bernstein wrote, “Good, socially minded economists, even Nobel laureates, have argued for pricing carbon more accurately, but thus far they’ve been ignored. Clearly, a different approach is necessary. Which is why we really should take the Green New Deal seriously.”

He added, “Given the increasing awareness of the urgency of climate change over the past 10 years, fossil fuel costs should be higher and they should be growing faster than overall prices, signaling their contribution to global warming.”

Bernstein continued:

… when markets and people interact in ways that are harmful for human welfare, there’s a well-established economic rationale for the government to step in and fix the problem by “internalizing the externality,” meaning making the persons or institutions that are, in this case, polluting the environment pay for the damage they’re doing to the rest of us. If the price system isn’t picking up the true cost of the damage and short-sighted people — which is most of us — are okay with that, then there’s a role for government to realign the higher social cost of fossil fuels with its lower actual cost.

Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH), the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, who is up for reelection in 2024, praised Bernstein for spending his “entire career fighting to make our economy fairer, so that working families’ hard work can pay off.”

Brown has also praised Solomon Greene, a House and Urban Development (HUD) nominee, who has called for defunding law enforcement agencies.

Jared Bernstein speaks during his confirmation hearing to be the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, during a hearing of the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee, on Capitol Hill, Tuesday, April 18, 2023, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Biden nominee has called for a higher gas tax, which he said amounts to a “carbon tax” and critical element of any Green New Deal.

He wrote in a column for the Washington Post, “For example, I’ve long argued on this page that we need a higher federal gas tax, which is, for the record, a carbon tax.”

He also lamented that too many people were enjoying low gas prices:

So, what’s not to like about $60-a-barrel oil?
Well, there’s the fact that it’s melting the planet. That’s hyperbole meant to get your attention, but the fact is that cheap oil is totally inconsistent with sustainable growth. This creates both a potential crisis — one that is already playing out in the accelerated effects of global warming, including the increased frequency of intense storms — and a potential opportunity.

Bernstein could be viewed as Biden’s would-be man on the left to espouse some of the most leftist positions for the White House, which include a wealth tax and a job guarantee.

Bernstein was viewed as the “conduit” through which the left could push through the most progressive positions in the Obama administration.

The Biden nominee also proposed radical changes to the Federal Reserve, the nation’s central bank, that would tie monetary not to the unemployment rate but the black unemployment rate:

Because the Fed’s monetary policy partially sets the unemployment rate, it must be drafted to correct this persistent economic injustice. But operationally, how can it do so while maintaining its political independence and achieving its dual mandate?
Note that our suggestion requires the Fed to report on actions it is taking to reduce these gaps. The language is far from neutral. It is not just asking the chair to tell us about the gaps; it requires him or her to make closing them a part of their mandate.
Bernstein added, “I’ve also pushed the Fed to go further … the central bank can work to close persistent racial job, wage and wealth gaps. Importantly, this idea been adapted in Biden’s far-reaching racial inclusivity agenda.”

He also argued in the American Prospect in 2017:

These findings suggest that the Federal Reserve plays a key role in shaping the condition of black lives when it decides whether to maintain full employment. Yes, the central bank must manage its dual mandate: full employment at stable prices. But especially given the low correlation between inflation and unemployment in recent decades, the Fed would do well to consider the racial impacts of its decision-making. [Emphasis added]

Brown has backed other nominees who have called to tie Fed policy to the black employment rate. Brown praised Dr. Lisa Cook, now on the Federal Reserve board of governors, who has called for targeting the federal funds rate to the black employment rate.

Bernstein’s critique of America’s economic system goes beyond his leftist prescriptions for America; he has called for “rejecting and replacing the economic model” to combat “systemic racism.”

Bernstein’s economic prescriptions also suggest that if, confirmed, would advise the Biden administration to pursue “significant stimulus” in the form of monetary policy and fiscal policy to help “communities of color and rural communities.”

Among other leftist policies, Bernstein supports:

As he contended in 20176 “racism persists in all our institutions.”

Sean Moran is a policy reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @SeanMoran3.


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