The Treasury Department has launched a new advisory committee to develop policies promoting economic equality and reducing financial disparities in communities of color.
The Treasury Advisory Committee on Racial Equity will include 25 members from academia, business and racial advocacy groups and meet four times a year to evaluate the department’s efforts. It will also offer guidance on programs aimed at promoting economic equality.
Vice President Kamala Harris helped kick off the program.
“America is a nation driven by the ambition and aspiration of her people, and so let us continue to fight to make sure all people have a chance to realize their dreams and determine their own future,” she said at an event Tuesday. “Because when we do, we not only advance economic justice, we strengthen our economy as a whole, creating prosperity and opportunity for all.”
Committee members include Michael Nutter, the former mayor of Philadelphia; Micheal Miebach, the chief executive of Mastercard; Felicia Wong, president of the Roosevelt Institute, a progressive think tank; and Barika Williams, executive director of the Association for Neighborhood and Housing Development.
Ms. Wong’s appointment has already drawn some scrutiny for pushing far-left ideas, including putting racial justice at the center of all government policymaking; abolishing for-profit prisons and defunding the police.
A report published last year by the Roosevelt Institute and co-authored by Ms. Wong said that “all policy,” including vaccine distribution to tax reform, has a racial impact. “Always considering race in policy design is therefore vital,” it said.
The report also pushed for wealth redistribution in the name of racial justice, arguing that “equity” should result in equal outcomes for everyone, not just the same opportunities.
“True equity means equity of outcome, and not accepting the promise of ‘opportunity’ within a system that continues to systematically exclude,” Ms. Wong wrote. “It demands redistribution of resources—especially when wealth for some has been extracted from many—and a redistribution of decision-making power.”
President Biden has made racial equity a pillar of his economic agenda. Some of the initiatives have been criticized for being racially discriminatory.
A program under the COVID-19 economic relief package known as the American Rescue Plan offered debt relief to Black farmers. It was stymied by federal courts after white farmers sued, saying the policy discriminated against them.
Ms. Harris became a target of conservative outrage over the weekend when she suggested that communities of color should be prioritized for hurricane relief. The comments forced the White House to clean it up by stressing that all communities would quickly receive aid while acknowledging that poorer communities have a hard time accessing assistance.