The Wall Street Journal scoops that Jared Bernstein, Joe Biden’s chief economist and the one person on the economic team seen as reliably liberal, will leave the White House soon.
Mr. Bernstein, a liberal voice in an increasingly centrist White House, will join the liberal-leaning Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. He is also in advanced talks to be an on-air commentator for Bloomberg News Service’s television network.
Mr. Bernstein’s departure comes after the exit of two liberal economic allies, Christina Romer and Larry Summers, and the arrival of deal-making pragmatists like Mr. Summers’ replacement as National Economic Council director, Gene Sperling, and Bruce Reed, Mr. Biden’s new chief of staff who headed the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.
But the official said his reasons for leaving are practical. In the face of a conservative Republican House and budget-cutting fever, Mr. Bernstein’s advocacy for more stimulus spending was going nowhere.
First of all, the idea that Summers was a liberal economic ally of Bernstein’s is horrifying – and also may actually be correct, relatively speaking, which is of course even more horrifying.
Second, Bernstein, like others before him, just gave in to reality. There are going to be major budget reductions over the next several years. The investments needed to improve economic performance and create jobs won’t be happening. And stimulus is right out. This is all Bernstein’s lifeblood. I read his book All Together Now. It’s not a stretch to say that little of his advice from that book was being followed. He found his work on the inside reaching a point of ineffectiveness, and so now he has to leave.
Hopefully Bernstein can make a contribution to the public pushback on austerity, and gridlock can prevail over a fraying of the social safety net.