Biden’s Corporatist Cabinet Will Fail the American People

Biden’s revolving door cabinet demonstrates the political establishment’s willingness to fail the American people time and time again in favor of the wealthy.

At a campaign speech for wealthy donors before he was elected, Joe Biden assured his donors that “nothing would fundamentally change.” Judging by his cabinet choices, this promise to his donors seems to be coming true. With a cabinet full of lobbyists, heads of defense contractors, and Wall Street pawns, Biden’s revolving door cabinet, in terms of ideology, is shaping up to look a lot like former President Donald Trump’s.

Janet Yellen testifies before Congress during the Obama administration as Federal Reserve Chair. (Getty Images)

Perhaps the one of the most contentious appointments is Treasury secretary Janet Yellen. Yellen, who served as Federal Reserve chair for four years during the Obama administration, was reported by Politico to have been paid millions of dollars from doing speeches for Wall Street firms and corporate interests such as Citi, Goldman Sachs, Google, and Citadel. Citadel has been under the spotlight for the past few weeks after the GameStop short squeeze and is now being accurately accused of market manipulation by many retail investors. Because Robinhood, a company that makes 40 percent of its revenue off of transactions with Citadel, banned the sale of GameStop stock to benefit Citadel’s investment in a major hedge fund, Melvin Capital, that is shorting GameStop stock, many congresspeople from Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Ted Cruz have called for an investigation into Citadel.

As the head of the Treasury, Yellen would be directly involved in investigating what happened during the short squeeze. Yet, when asked about this blatant conflict of interest, the White House dodged the question.

“The secretary of the Treasury is one of the world renowned experts on markets and the economy,” press secretary Jen Psaki said. “It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone she was paid to give her perspective and advice [to Wall Street firms] before she came into office.”

As deputy secretary of state under the Obama administration, Antony Blinken answers questions from journalists during a press conference. (Reuters)

Many of Biden’s appointments also have conflicts of interests with the military-industrial complex and consulting firms. Secretary of state Antony Blinken advised many companies that lobbied the State Department at his consulting firm WestExec Advisors like Boeing, the airplane manufacturer and defense contractor; Blackstone Group, one of the largest private equity firms, Facebook and Gilead, a pharmaceutical company. Blinken was also a partner at Pine Island Capital Partners, a private equity firm that is involved in the defense and government service industries. However, Blinken does plan to sell his 6 million dollars stake in WestExec-related companies but has not made any commitments to recuse himself from duties involving his former clients.

Defense secretary Lloyd J. Austin III poses for his official Army portrait. (U.S. Army)

Furthermore, recently retired General Lloyd J. Austin III was recently approved for his position as secretary of Defense, eroding the norm that military officials have to wait substantial amounts of time before being given control over the Pentagon. Austin, like Blinken, was also a member of Pine Island Capital Partners. Austin’s most blatant conflict of interest was previously, until he was nominated for secretary of defense, being on the board of directors of Raytheon Technologies, the world’s third-largest defense contractor.

“I think it’s concerning to have someone so involved in the military as secretary of defense,” freshman Jules Sanders said. “We’ve already had a lot of issues with the military budget and [this is] just disconcerting.”

In fact, many North High liberals would prefer to focus more on identity politics than actually holding the Biden administration accountable.

“I believe that President Joe Biden’s cabinet picks are a great step in the right direction for progressing the diversity and inclusivity in our government,” sophomore Abby Nassimi said.  “Most notably, picking Kamala Harris to be his vice president, resulted in our first Black, South Asian American, and female vice president.”

However, Nassimi fails to account for the fact that although Kamala Harris represents diversity, her policies, especially her stance on criminal justice, fail to protect the same communities that she comes from.

Harris’ tough on crime record as attorney general of California was full of abhorrent decisions. Even though the Supreme Court found California prisons so overcrowded that they constituted cruel and unusual punishment, Harris fought to keep people in prison after they were proved innocent, defended California’s death penalty system in court, resisted calls to investigate some police shootings and fought to release fewer prisoners from the prisons, claiming that releasing them would deplete California’s population of prison labors.

When Biden’s cabinet is praised for having a diverse group of people in terms of both gender and race, the reality is that diversity of identity does not necessarily correlate to a diversity of ideas. This is seen in the fact that the Biden administration is full of lobbyists, barely represents or will fight for any progressive ideology and may cut the 2,000 dollar stimulus package that they promised to give. Democrats have been shown time and time again to use identity politics as a shield for their reprehensible ideology that really is not significantly different from the views perpetuated by the Republican Party.