Many of my conservative colleagues have succumbed to Biden Derangement Syndrome. It's the corollary to the Trump Derangement Syndrome that has plagued most of my progressive friends. If the report that Biden will appoint Janet Yellen as his Treasury Secretary bears out conservatives can exhale. And celebrate.
I wrote here recently in America Rises Up to Crush the Left: "Biden, suave but nobody's patsy, will domesticate his party's left by throwing a sop or two to Cerberus. Big Reveal: The left was and is an imaginary hobgoblin."
Full disclosure. "An imaginary hobgoblin" was an allusion to H.L. Mencken's In Defense of Women, wherein he wrote: "Civilization, in fact, grows more and more maudlin and hysterical; especially under democracy it tends to degenerate into a mere combat of crazes; the whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, most of them imaginary."
Still true. Don't fall for it. Yet Biden is selecting distinguished, capable candidates to populate his White House and Cabinet. With a distinguished woman about to be put in charge of the most important economic office in the world Mencken's "defense of women" is nicely fulfilled.
In that column I wrote that Biden pacified his left wing during the campaign and will surely pacify it further upon taking the reins. So, let's leave the delicious theatricality of pearl-clutching terror in anticipation that Joe Biden is the second coming of Hugo Chavez. He's not.
The mere mention of Bernie Sanders, among others, as a possible secretary of labor is just the kind of "sop to Cerberus" that I also predicted. The Department of Labor, since FDR's distinguished New Deal architect Frances Perkins, has been an agency with modest influence. Moreover, mentioning Sanders is politic, not serious. President Biden cannot afford to create a Senate vacancy that could readily be won in the ensuing special election by the wildly popular Vermont governor, the Republican (yet still Honorable!), Phil Scott.
All of the names being floated for the Big Four federal agencies – State, Treasury, Defense and Justice – are consistent with my observation that "America elected a calm and pragmatic social democrat, Joe Biden, not a Democratic Socialist delightful kook. … And he will preside over a center right Congress and center right states."
Biden's short list of leading Treasury secretary candidates provides powerful evidence of Biden's pragmatic, pro-labor yet capitalist-friendly philosophy. Biden, like FDR, is a social democrat, not a socialist, and does not buy into the socialist class warfare nonsense that pits workers against the middle class. What does the Treasury appointment tell us?
Exhibit A: "the dog that did not bark in the night." Sen. Elizabeth Warren was actively jockeying to be Treasury secretary. She wasn't even on the Whisper List. Warren, a doctrinaire progressive, is probably the Democratic Party's loony left's favorite figure other than "democratic" socialist Bernie. Her name's absence is telling. Joe Biden is no Trojan Horse for the tiny but loud Bolshevik wing of the Democratic Party.
Exhibit B: The top of Biden's short list held superb choices. Per Politico's Transition Playbook: "Janet Yellen as a potential Treasury Secretary, after Lael Brainard of the Federal Reserve Board initially seemed to have a lock on the position." For Biden, as well as those of us (even Republicans!) committed to equitable prosperity, picking out Yellen and Brainard was a "can't lose" choice for America.
The Washington Post's contrarian Robert Samuelson, in December 2017, plausibly gave credit to Yellen for the original strong Trump-era economy. Samuelson: "Under Yellen, the economy has made huge progress. Here's the record since she became Fed head in February 2014: Payroll employment has expanded by nearly 10 million jobs; the unemployment rate has dropped from 6.7 percent to 4.1 percent. … Yellen leaves a solid legacy, built on professional competence, integrity and dignity."
As for Brainard, The New York Times recently, convincingly, extolled her. "Jerome H. Powell, the Fed's chair, often praises Ms. Brainard's intellect in private conversations and has placed her in key roles at the central bank, including tapping her to play a major part in devising and overseeing the Fed's emergency lending programs. Ms. Brainard joined calls with staff members and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the Fed's partner in planning those efforts, 21 times in April alone."
We shall soon find out these, and more of, Biden's, appointments. Yellen to Treasury and Brainard to chair the Fed after Powell fulfills his term would maximize President Biden's chance of creating a climate of great job creation. Both women have proven capability, integrity and grace under pressure, giving Biden Derangement Syndrome sufferers more great reasons to climb down from the ledge.
Ralph Benko, co-author of "The Capitalist Manifesto" and chairman and co-founder of "The Capitalist League," is the founder of The Prosperity Caucus and is an original Kemp-era member of the Supply Side revolution that propelled the Dow from 814 to its current heights and world GDP from $11T to $88T. He served as a deputy general counsel in the Reagan White House, has worked closely with the Congress and two cabinet agencies, and has published over a million words on politics and policy in the mainstream media, as a distinguished professional blogger, and as the author of the internationally award-winning cult classic book "The Websters' Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World." He has served as senior adviser, economics, to APIA as an advocate of the gold standard, senior counselor to the Chamber of Digital Commerce and serves as co-founder of and senior counselor to Frax.finance, a stablecoin venture. Read Ralph Benko's reports — More Here.
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