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Investing in all of America: A conversation with National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard. Daniel Merritt and Matias Facchinato-Sitja, Interns.

On Monday, January 22, The Brookings Institution hosted White House National Economic Advisor Lael Brainard, who outlined the Biden-Harris administration’s focus on supporting communities that have been left behind, and the direction of the economic agenda in 2024.

The event began with a forward by Ms. Brainard. She debriefed the systematic issues in Reagan's 'trickle-down economics' philosophy, offering Biden's place-based growth as an alternative. Where the former spurs regional inequality for the benefit of some, the latter targets those inequalities at their most basic local level to provide long-term solutions lasting well into the future. Brainard outlined six principles of place-based policy. 

The first was a well-designed environment for public investment (acting as a foundation for private investment) ensured by Biden's infrastructure law. 

Second were additional special investments to propel private investment, like those in emerging technology and sustainability. 

Third was an initiative to connect regionally disenfranchised communities with commerce hubs close to them. 

Fourth was the assurance that place-based growth considers the entire country instead of just major metros. 

Fifth was the desire to shift priorities of local communities to those more attractive to investors and migrants alike. 

Finally, Brainard claimed that maintaining existing federal investments while employing place-based policy was essential.

The discussion following her short speech reinforced the claim that place-based policy builds local communities from the bottom up, with Ms. Brainard citing  specific tax credit incentives for the private sector and specialized agencies for diverse communities as examples. Ultimately her claims seem to be promising, though as place-based growth is further employed throughout the country it is still uncertain if it will be reciprocated in kind and if it will survive the election cycle.

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