Joe Biden is reportedly considering appointing businessman Michael Bloomberg and JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, both billionaires, to powerful leadership positions should Biden win the Democratic presidential nomination and defeat President Donald Trump in November.
Axios reported Monday that the former vice president and his campaign advisers are weighing Dimon for treasury secretary, a cabinet position tasked with overseeing the U.S. financial system. Biden is also considering Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bank of America vice chair Anne Finucane for the top Treasury post.
Bloomberg, who dropped out of the presidential race last week and immediately endorsed Biden, "would be top possibility to head the World Bank" under a Biden administration, according to Axios.
Progressive observers were appalled, if not surprised, by the preliminary list of potential Biden appointees, which Axios reported just 24 hours before Democratic primary contests in six states.
"This shouldn't surprise anyone. This is who the Dem Party is," tweeted Glenn Greenwald, co-founder of The Intercept. "The establishment wing of the party didn't fall into line behind Biden despite the fact that he'd put Bloomberg and Jamie Dimon in his cabinet. They did it because of that. This is who they are, their ideology."
Sarah Jones, a writer for New York Magazine, tweeted that "probably the highest expectation anyone should have for a Biden presidency is that he'd be a caretaker president."
"The worst," Jones added, "is that he'd empower people like Bloomberg and Dimon and actively make the U.S. a worse place than it was when Trump was elected."
Biden advisers told Axios that the former vice president's cabinet picks would be tasked with implementing "a Return to Normal plan—a reversal of President Trump's unorthodox, improvisational style."
"Biden wants known, trusted people around him—many from the Obama years," Axios reported.
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Critics, including members of Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) presidential campaign, said the list of potential appointees is further evidence that Biden, if elected, plans to make good on his promise to wealthy donors last June that "nothing would fundamentally change" under his presidency.
"This is maybe the most depressing thing you'll read all day," tweeted Tyson Brody, research director for the Sanders campaign. "Imagine after all this just to make Jamie Dimon treasury secretary. Not only would 'nothing fundamentally change,' things can be even worse for working people."
Warren Gunnels, senior adviser to Sanders, highlighted Dimon's role in the 2008 financial crisis as CEO of JPMorgan Chase and board member of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York:
Aw man, Are you kidding me?— Warren Gunnels (@GunnelsWarren) March 9, 2020
Biden is measuring the White House drapes by floating Jamie Dimon as Treasury Secretary.
He's the CEO of a bank that:
- got a $416B bailout while he was on the NY Fed
- was fined $13B for mortgage fraud
- illegally foreclosed on military families https://t.co/4iT6ZE8NuA
Pointing to growing fears of a global financial meltdown as the coronavirus spreads globally, academic and writer Josh Mound tweeted that "Biden floating Dimon, Finucane, and Bloomberg for major economic positions just as the economy teeters on the edge of collapse for the second time in roughly a decade tells you all you need to know about the utter hopelessness of the mainstream of the Democratic Party."
Progressive advocacy group Democracy for America, which endorsed Sanders for president last week, echoed Mound.
"The fact that Joe Biden's advisers, when musing about cabinet picks, are debating between Elizabeth Warren, Jamie Dimon, and a Bank of America exec for treasury secretary pretty much tells you all you need to know about Joe's non-existent commitment to a progressive agenda," the group said.
Ryan Greenwood, director of Movement Politics for People's Action, which also backs Sanders, said, "Joe Biden wants to hand our economy to bankers and billionaires responsible for devastating attacks on the multiracial working class, especially people of color. We deserve better."
The Democratic Party, Greenwooda added, "cannot be the party of the multiracial working class and the party of the big banks and racist billionaires at the same time. We have to choose."