Treasury Secretary’s Advisory Committee on Racial Equity Members Raises Questions

Janet Yellen, secretary of the Treasury, unveiled the initial members of her department’s Advisory Committee on Racial Equity on Tuesday. 

Per a press statement, the group will provide Yellen with “input and suggestions” on “efforts to enhance racial fairness in the economy and tackle consequential imbalances for communities of color,” including housing and government supplier diversity.

Among the other inaugural selections are the former Democratic mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, who will head the committee, and CEO of the Roosevelt Institute, Felicia Wong, who will function as vice-chair. 

‘Diverse Backgrounds’

Yellen highlighted that bringing a diverse array of external opinions and subjective experiences to the table of decision-making is essential for achieving racial fairness objectives.

The Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity, composed of members with diverse backgrounds and expertise, will give crucial insight and recommendations to departmental leadership to strengthen and improve their equity efforts.

Nutter, who served as mayor of the City of Brotherly Love from 2008 to 2016, has been suspicious of proposals to defund the police. Nutter questioned the “anti-police narrative” advanced by the incumbent district attorney of Philadelphia, Larry Krasner.

Four years prior to George Floyd’s killing, Wong co-authored a study arguing that “police expenditures should be lowered and for-profit jail systems must be eliminated.”

In a report he co-authored last year, Wong argued governments should “emphasize race” in all decisions.

Climate Change

As stated in a speech delivered by President Biden shortly after his inauguration, the White House is adopting a “whole-of-government approach” to place climate change at the center of the home, national, and foreign policy.

While appreciating the administration’s strategy, Wong asserted the centralization of race fairness as a fundamental metric of successful results.

This generally undermines previous racial liberal concepts emphasizing opportunity and access, which will be essential to change policy expectations and norms. 

The Treasury Department employed Janis Bowdler outside of the Committee on Racial Equity. As the first Counselor for Racial Equity, she led JPMorgan Chase’s pledge to invest $30 billion in neglected communities after last year.

In a statement, Yellen argued “the American economy has traditionally not worked reasonably for minority communities” and her department “must play a central role” in eliminating alleged racial imbalance. 

Michael Barr, a representative of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, stated as the United States and the rest of the world battle with how to react to climate change, banks are deeply concerned about the dangers climate change poses to their balance sheets.

He said the Federal Reserve is attempting to comprehend the dangers that climate change may bring to individual institutions and the financial system.

Important but limited, the Federal Reserve’s responsibility in this area focuses on its supervision and role in fostering secure and stable banking markets.

This article appeared in The Political Globe and has been published here with permission.