Vice President-elect Joseph Biden has just announced that Jared Bernstein, Director of the Living Standards program at the Economic Policy Institute, will fill the new position of Chief Economist and Economic Policy Advisor to the Vice President. Bernstein is a renowned progressive economist, with expertise on the middle-class squeeze, income inequality and mobility, low-wage labor markets, and poverty. In May, Bernstein wrote on Huffington Post that it’s now time for progressives to govern after years of conservative failures:
Regarding the variables that matter most to working families, the neocon experiment was a particularly dramatic failure. Employment grew one third as fast as the average over the 2000s business cycle and the unemployment rate, though low on average, was higher at the end of the cycle than at the beginning. Perhaps the most damning indictment is this: for the first time on record, going back to the mid-1940s, the income of the typical, middle-income family was slightly lower last year than at the prior peak in 2000 (see their figure A). [...]
The defenders of the status quo will howl in protest: the Democrats blocked us, the terrorist attacks and the war changed everything, we must stay the course to victory! But such rhetoric should be dismissed as what it is: the last, desperate gasps of a dying movement.
They’ve had their turn and they’ve failed. It is our turn now.
Bernstein previously served as the Deputy Chief Economist for the Department of Labor, Congressional Budget Office’s advisory committee, and is a contributor to CNBC.