Politico’s list can be found here. It should come as no surprise that Biden, when compared to Trump, was by far the favorite of the capitalist elites who caused the 2008 crash, and the neocons who led their country administration-after-administration into new foreign wars. Of course, Biden will reward his posh patrons while doing his very best to sideline the laughable progressives who gullibly cast their votes for the candidate of “harm reduction” and “resistance”.
As of the writing of this article, Biden has only really confirmed his transition team, and his Chief of Staff who is none other than Ron Klain. Klain lobbied for an asbestos industry bailout package, for an airline merger, for mortgage regulations to help Fannie Mae, and for a drug-maker under congressional scrutiny for withholding life-saving drugs from dying patients, among other clients. And this is just the beginning of a long list of worrying names for the working-class.
Here are some of those key people Biden may have on his cabinet that ought to raise eyebrows.
Michele Flournoy – Secretary of Defense
Flournoy was the former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy under President Bill Clinton, and Undersecretary of Defense for Policy in Obama’s first term.
Flournoy was the chief author of the May 1997 Quadrennial Defense Review, where she advocated the unilateral use of military power in defense of US interests. Worse, she was one of the key voices which persuaded Obama to militarily intervene in Libya to overthrow its leader Gaddafi, turning it into a failed state rife with slave markets.
If you get the likes of Iraq War enthusiasts Bill Kristol, David Frum, and Max Boot supporting a Biden win, don’t be shocked when he picks neocons and warhawks to his cabinet.
Susan Rice – Secretary of State
Rice is another accomplice of Flournoy’s in the disastrous Libyan intervention. While she has committed the US to treaties such as the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the U.N. Millennium Development Goals, her role as a warhawk shows that Biden will continue the Bush-Obama consensus.
Lael Brainard – Treasury
A name not as common as the rest, Brainard has a history of disastrous policy choices that have culminated in the decimation of the American working-class.
Brainard served as the Deputy National Economic Adviser and Deputy Assistant to President Clinton from 1998 to 2000. She assisted Clinton in the implementation of NAFTA, and the preparation of China’s entry into the WTO with little-to-no conditions.
The Neoliberal consensus marches on, trampling the American and global worker underneath.
Meg Whitman – Commerce
Whitman was a senior member of Mitt Romney’s 2008 and 2012 Presidential campaigns and ran for governor of California in 2010 as a Republican, but switched her support to Hillary Clinton and then Joe Biden. Whitman has also remained a former CEO of big tech companies such as eBay and HP, and is currently on the board of DropBox and Proctor-and-Gamble (which has faced allegations such as the use of child labor for its products).
Ultimately, expect a pro-big tech and pro-corporate candidate favoring big business at the expense of the American worker.
Various – Labor
There seems to be no clear consensus for Biden’s labor secretary, with moderate names such as California Labor Secretary Julie Su, and outright Neoliberal names such as Tom Perez. Bernie Sanders, who has expressed interest for this position and may well be the most pro-worker choice, will not be getting this position (surprise!). Expect a surge of indentured-servitude being done by immigrant workers under the H1B visa program.
Jimmy Gomez – US Trade Representative
Gomez, a Democrat Representative from LA, served as part of a House working group in 2019 that worked with the Trump administration to make changes to the USMCA. Seemingly more to the progressive side of the coin, Gomez however is as much a corporate candidate as anyone else. His campaign was financed in six-figure sums by big pharma and the insurance industry that rips off millions of Americans’ life savings. Furthermore, Biden has signalled that he would be amenable to the US getting involved in disastrous trade deals such as the TPP, which Gomez could lead the way with.
If you thought that’s bad, let’s take a closer look at some members from Biden’s transition team
Michael McCabe has been appointed to the agency review team at the Environmental Protection Agency. He served as Biden’s communications and projects director between 1987 and 1995, and as deputy administrator of the EPA at the end of the Clinton administration, where he led DuPont’s defense of the toxic PFAS chemical PFOA.
Three paid analysts on MSNBC, Barbara McQuade, Richard Stengel and Ezekiel Emanuel, have left to join Joe Biden’s administration. Emanuel, who believes it is immoral to live past the age of 75, will be on Biden’s coronavirus task force. A fourth paid MSNBC contributor helped write Biden’s victory speech.
Paula Garcia Tufro is listed on the NSC team. As a member of Obama’s NSC, Tufro presided over listing Venezuela as a “national security threat” (hint: it isn’t).
Dana Stroul of the Washington Institute for Near-East Policy, is listed on Biden’s State Dept team. Stroul helped oversee a congressional panel that urged US military occupation, crushing sanctions, and preventing rebuilding in Syria. She has further claimed that the US military “owned” 1/3 of Syria.
Kelly Magsamen, VP of national security at the Center for American Progress, is also listed on the Biden NSC team. She is a fierce defender of her boss, war-criminal Elliot Abrams, and shares his goals of regime change in Venezuela.
Seth Harris, former deputy labor secretary and co-author of a 2015 paper on the possibility of creating a third worker classification (“independent worker”) to solve the gig economy labor problem, is on the Biden-Harris labor transition team. If one were to follow his exact policy suggestions we would see the abolition of the 40-hour workweek with a reduced minimum wage to less than $5.75 (the federal wage was last adjusted in 2009 to $7.25), at least for gig workers. This is in stark contrast to Biden’s claim that he would raise the federal minimum wage to $15.
Besides these worrying names, Biden has several executives from other big tech, gig, and financial companies such as Lyft, Airbnb, Amazon, Capital One, Booz Allen, Uber, Visa, and JP Morgan.
Continuation of the Reagan-Clinton-Bush-Obama era
After the election of Obama in 2008, one could almost certainly confirm the trajectory of his administration by the people he employed (especially considering that Citigroup essentially picked the entirety of his cabinet). The same can, thus, be concluded for a potential Joe Biden presidency.
It is evidently clear that Biden’s administration will be fiercely neoliberal on economics, and it is unlikely he would engage in any meaningful pro-labor policies or bring sufficient reform to healthcare. On foreign policy, one can expect more foreign wars and color revolutions, creating more poverty and refugee crises.
Siddak Ahuja focuses on analyzing Marxism, Neoliberalism and Populist movements. He has been published in Common Dreams, The Bellows, and the American Conservative. Siddak is a columnist at Westphalian Times. You can follow him here.