Treasury Department Appoints First ‘Counselor For Racial Equity’

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Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen revealed the department’s first “Counselor for Racial Equity” on Monday, announcing the appointment of Janis Bowdler. 

A press release indicated Bowdler “will be charged with coordinating Treasury’s efforts to advance racial equity including engaging with diverse communities throughout the country and to identify and mitigate barriers to accessing benefits and opportunities with the Department.”

The department described Bowdler’s resume, noting that “[m]ost recently, Janis served the President of the JPMorgan Chase & Co. Foundation. Under her leadership, the firm launched several critical initiatives that have expanded capital for entrepreneurs of color, improved access to banking products and services, expanded access to new job skills, and built more inclusive neighborhoods. Janis played a critical role in developing the firm’s incremental $30 billion racial equity commitment.” 

“The American economy has historically not worked fairly for communities of color. The pandemic threw a spotlight on this inequity; people of color were often the first to lose their jobs and businesses. Treasury must play a central role in ensuring that as our economy recovers from the pandemic, it recovers in a way that addresses the inequalities that existed long before anyone was infected with COVID-19,” said Secretary Janet Yellen. “I’m excited that Janis will join us and devote her efforts to that mission.” 

“I could not be more humbled by the historic opportunity to serve as the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s first Counselor for Racial Equity,” said Bowdler. “I have spent my entire career working in solidarity with Black, Latinx, AAPI, Native communities, and other communities of color to dismantle the structural and institutional racism that perpetuates the racial wealth divide.”

“Addressing racial and gender disparities and giving underserved communities greater access to opportunities creates more broadly shared prosperity for all. Thank you to Secretary Yellen for entrusting me with this position to help contribute to the Biden Administration’s commitment to centering racial equity in its work,” Bowdler added. 

Yellen came under harsh criticism on Monday after she stated over the weekend that Senate Democrats are looking into imposing a tax on unrealized capital gains of the richest Americans. 

As The Daily Wire reported, “Yellen made the remarks in response to a question from Tapper about whether a wealth tax should be part of how Democrats look to pay for Biden’s $3.5 trillion social spending bill.”

“Well, I think what’s under consideration is a proposal that Senator Wyden and the Senate Finance Committee have been looking at that would impose a tax on unrealized capital gains, on liquid assets held by extremely wealthy individuals, billionaires,” Yellen responded. “I wouldn’t call that a wealth tax. But it would help get at capital gains, which are an extraordinarily large part of the incomes of the wealthiest individuals, and right now escape taxation, until they’re realized, and often they’re unrealized in the death benefit from a so- called step up of basis.” 

“So, it’s not a wealth tax, but a tax on unrealized capital gains of exceptionally wealthy individuals,” she added.

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