On The Money: Biden wins America’s economic engines | Progressives praise Biden’s picks for economic transition team | Restaurants go seasonal with winter shutdowns during pandemic

On The Money: Biden wins America’s economic engines | Progressives praise Biden’s picks for economic transition team | Restaurants go seasonal with winter shutdowns during pandemic

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THE BIG DEAL—Biden wins America’s economic engines: President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFeds charge Staten Island man over threat to Schumer, FBI Pence cancels vacation in Florida: report Romney shoots down serving in Biden Cabinet MORE’s victory last week came on the strength of his performance in the strongest parts of America’s economy, the latest sign of a growing economic and cultural divide that’s increasingly shaping the nation’s political debate.

That chasm will make reconciliation between bitter partisans all the more difficult in the years ahead. The Hill’s Reid Wilson tells us why here.

The growing divide: The partisan gap between the nation’s economic powerhouses and its laggards has widened dramatically over the last two decades. 

Why it’s happening: The growing Democratic advantage is a reflection of the evolution of an economy that was once based on agriculture and manufacturing but is now dominated by services and information.

  • Agriculture and manufacturing are becoming smaller sources of employment, in part because of growing efficiencies that require fewer workers. 
  • Information and services are becoming larger sources of jobs, positions that either require high levels of education or cannot be outsourced to a machine.

That shift has concentrated economic power in big cities and among younger, more diverse and better-educated workers — all groups that favor Democrats over Republicans.

LEADING THE DAY

Progressives praise Biden’s picks for economic transition team: President-elect Joe Biden is earning praise from progressives for tapping a wide range of government veterans and academics to help form an economic team that will be tasked with trying to advance Democratic policies in a deeply divided Washington.

While Biden has not announced any Cabinet nominees, the scholars and economists he picked to lead agency review teams included familiar names in progressive circles. I explain why here.

The transition team: 

  • Progressives hailed Biden’s decision to tap Gary Gensler, the former chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), to lead the transition’s review of banking and securities regulators. Despite his tenure at Goldman Sachs, Gensler’s advocacy for tougher rules on complex financial trades has endeared him to industry skeptics.
  • Other members of the transition team who are favorites among progressives include AFL-CIO policy director Damon Silvers, former assistant Treasury Secretary Michael Barr and former deputy Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Leandra English.

Biden has also enlisted leading experts on racial economic disparities and discrimination within the financial system, such as University of California Irvine law professor Mehrsa Baradaran and Michigan State University economics professor Lisa Cook.

“I think some of this reflects that this administration, for the next two years, will likely rely heavily on administrative reform to help redirect the priorities of the nation and push more fairness and more economic reach for working families and families of color,” said Michael Calhoun, president of the Center for Responsible Lending.

Restaurants go seasonal with winter shutdowns during pandemic: Congressional inaction on COVID-19 relief combined with rising coronavirus cases is prompting more restaurants to close up shop for the winter and go into hibernation until warmer weather returns.

  • Many restaurant owners, faced with the prospect of daily financial losses, are choosing to lay off employees until spring when customers can sit outside in settings where the risk of spreading the coronavirus is minimized.
  • The job losses are adding economic pain to an industry already hit hard by the pandemic, raising concerns about whether many of these restaurants will be able to reopen next year without government assistance.

“Shutting down a restaurant temporarily is never going to be a perfect or elegant solution. There is still going to be workers or suppliers that rely on that restaurant’s operations that are going to be left short,” said Sean Kennedy, executive vice president of public affairs at the National Restaurant Association.

The Hill’s Alex Gangitano has more here.

GOOD TO KNOW