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Biden Fed Nominee Lisa Cook Backs Financial Reparations, Could Become First Black Woman on Fed Board

Lisa Cook, a Michigan State University economics professor, has been nominated by President Biden for governor of the Federal Reserve. On Feb. 3, she will appear before the Senate Banking Committee. She is sure to face a grilling about her support for financial reparations for Black Americans as a form of repair for slavery and discrimination. Cook will appear with fellow nominees Sarah Bloom Raskin and Philip Jefferson.

Cook
MSU Professor Lisa Cook (Photo from Michigan State University, https://msutoday.msu.edu/news/2022/lisa-cook-federal-bank-chicago)

If confirmed, Cook would be the first Black woman to serve on the Fed board in its 108 years, CNBC reported.

“Everybody benefited from slavery. Everybody,” Lisa Cook, a Michigan State University professor, said in a September 2020 “EconTalk” podcast. “So, I think that we absolutely need some sort of reckoning with that. There are many proposals on the table to study the possibility of reparations, many economic proposals being put forward, and I think they should all be taken seriously.”

She has also expressed support for H.R. 40, a House bill that would create a commission to study reparations, Fox News reported.

“One thing I do support is H.R. 40, which would put in place a commission to study this. I think that’s absolutely what needs to be done,” Cook said at a forum at the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business. “It’s difficult not to comment on a particular plan because there could be many different plans to achieve the kinds of reparations that [two authors] are suggesting.” 

The Fed governor nominee also serves on the advisory board of the Opportunity & Inclusive Growth Institute at the Minneapolis Fed. 

Biden praised Cook as a “talented economist with decades of experience working on a broad range of economic issues.” He added that Cook and other recent Fed nominees “will bring much-needed expertise, judgment, and leadership to the Federal Reserve while at the same time bringing a diversity of thought and perspective never seen before on the Board of Governors.”

The Georgia native studied disparities in the market for intellectual property and innovation and has spent a large part of her career trying to determine why the U.S. government grants so few patents to women and Black Americans, CNBC reported.

“Whatever their source, gender, and racial disparities exist at each stage of the innovation process — education and training, the practice of invention, and commercialization of invention — and can be costly to both productivity and the economy,” she wrote in 2020.

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