Jan 16, 2021 - Economy

4. Wall Street power shift

Illustration of a shouting wall street bull on a repeating background pattern.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Power will move from Wall Street to Washington over the next four years.

  • That's the message being sent by President-elect Biden, with his expected nomination of Wall Street foe Gary Gensler to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, and by Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), incoming head of the Senate Banking Committee.

Why it matters: Biden is charting an economic policy that's visibly to the left of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. If he succeeds, it's going to show up not only in taxes and spending, but also in regulation.

Who to watch: Biden is being pulled to the left on economic policy not only by the Democratic Party, but also by economic orthodoxy.

  • Led by incoming Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, the economic policy team has signaled that it will be the first administration ever to construct economic policy around issues like race, gender equality and climate change, rather than around traditional indicators like gross domestic product or deficit ratios.
  • Gensler has a skepticism of Wall Street learned the hard way — in the halls of Goldman Sachs. He won't be snowed by bankers trying to tell him that they know better than he does.
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