by Chris Brunet
President Joe Biden’s nominee to regulate the banking industry has previously expressed support for economic reparations to black Americans, Fox Business reported Monday.
Lisa Cook, a professor of international relations and economics at Michigan State University, has an extensive history of supporting “race-specific” financial compensation “because the injury was race-specific,” Fox reported. Cook was nominated on Jan. 14 to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
“Everybody benefited from slavery. Everybody. So, I think that we absolutely need some sort of reckoning with that,” said Cook on the EconTalk podcast in September 2020. “One thing I do support is H.R. 40 … I think that’s absolutely what needs to be done,” said Cook in a March 2021 talk at Berkeley Haas, referencing a bill that would establish a commission to study and develop reparation proposals.
William Darity Jr., an economist at Duke University, estimates that reparations would cost the U.S. government roughly $12 trillion.
— Dr. Lisa D. Cook (@drlisadcook) January 10, 2019
Economists are split on whether the trillions would be a good idea. Advocates like Darity argue that they would help eliminate the racial wealth gap, while detractors such as Thomas Sowell argue that “the longer this futile [reparations] campaign goes on, the more additional blacks will be victimized.”
The general public is likewise split on whether reparations would be a good idea — nearly two-thirds of Americans oppose the idea, according to a survey conducted in April 2021 by the University of Massachusetts Amherst. This polling also shows an overwhelming majority of Republicans, 90%, oppose the idea while 64% of Democrats support it.
The recent findings on Cook’s position regarding reparations follow an op-ed from Washington Post columnist George Will on Jan. 28, who wrote that Cook “strokes progressivism’s erogenous zones” via her support for defunding the police and reparations. “Fed Chair Jerome H. Powell should be mortified that political activists like Raskin and Cook are being insinuated into the Fed’s operations,” wrote Will.
1/A terrible article and another bad faith attack on Lisa Cook in particular. Anyone who disagrees with Will's views on the scope of Federal Reserve policy is a political activist. And Will's has given 0 thought to what would make for a good Fed governor. https://t.co/vOeulnlZLY
— Steven N. Durlauf (@sndurlauf) January 31, 2022
Will also took aim at Cook’s lack of academic achievements, noting that “her peer-reviewed academic writings pertinent to monetary policy are, to be polite, thin.” His comments follow a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation that found her peers view her as unqualified.
Perhaps the most visible critic of Cook has been ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee Ranking Member Pat Toomey, who has warned that “many on the Left want to misuse financial regulation to politicize capital allocation and advance a far-left agenda.” In a Jan. 25 letter, Toomey further expressed “concerns with the significant lack of diversity in geography and professional experience in your [Biden’s] slate of nominees to serve on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.”
.@federalreserve nominees Raskin and Cook aren’t being nominated for dog catcher. They’ve been selected for powerful positions. That’s why it’s so concerning that a substantial volume of materials weren't turned over until we independently discovered dozens of omissions. https://t.co/g0Udn4DkKF
— Senator Pat Toomey (@SenToomey) January 28, 2022
“The nomination of Lisa Cook is particularly significant as the first Black woman to be appointed to the Federal Reserve Board in its 108-year history,” write the National Economic Association, who are currently circulating a support form expressing support for her confirmation.
The Senate Banking Committee will meet Thursday to determine whether Cook’s nomination, as well as two other Fed picks, will proceed to a full Senate vote. It is unknown how key moderates such as Sens. Jon Tester, Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema will vote.
“Professor Cook’s history of taking extreme Left-wing positions and engaging in partisan political fights calls into question her ability to respect the Fed’s independence. I expect Senators on both sides of the aisle will share these concerns,” a senior Republican Senate aide told the DCNF.
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