Friday, May 7, 2021
But the split from past Democratic presidents is also evident in the White House’s bedrock beliefs. Both of the earlier administrations tended to view widening inequality as a kind of natural phenomenon—the inevitable result of structural changes in the economy, led by greater automation and more global economic competition. The Biden team views inequality much more as something molded by human hands—the result of policies that have weakened workers and strengthened corporations’ marketplace leverage. To a greater degree than Obama’s and especially Clinton’s teams, it believes that generating widely shared prosperity isn’t possible without aggressive government intervention.
The same difference is clear when it comes to racial and gender disparities. Biden has already shown himself much more willing to target government benefits explicitly by race. And while Clinton and Obama tended to prioritize efforts to foster high-skill, high-wage, typically high-tech jobs, Biden has a different focus: child-care providers and home-health-care workers, a typically low-wage segment of the economy dominated by women of color. “This is something we’ve been thinking a lot about: You don’t address racial equity without targeting racial equity,” one senior administration official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in order to talk about internal discussions, told me.
Inequality really is a big problem and handing piles of cash to Wall Street banks doesn't make it better. But neither will taxing the heck out of businesses large and small and giving lots of currency to people who aren't working. Both things can be totally misguided, or rather guided by politics rather than sound economics.