Elon Musk, the CEO of Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter, has expressed opposition to the Biden administration’s emphasis on diversity in the selection of the next vice chair of the Federal Reserve.
Posting on Twitter, Musk criticized the consideration of diversity, stating that “maximum skill with monetary policy is extremely important in this role.”
His comments came in response to White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre’s recent remarks about the importance of diversity and representation in the nomination process for the central bank’s leadership.
During a press briefing, the White House spokeswoman confirmed that the administration would prioritize a “highly diverse group of world-class economists” in its search for a replacement for Lael Brainard, who recently departed as vice chair of the Federal Reserve to become director of the National Economic Council.
The administration has made diversity a central theme, with a majority of the Cabinet being people of color and female, and record representation of LGBTQ+ individuals in key positions.
Critics of diversity considerations in hiring argue that prioritizing external factors such as race or sexual identity can result in a decline in overall competence, as the most qualified candidates may be overlooked in favor of those who meet diversity quotas.
The diversity, equity, and inclusion movement, or DEI, has gained momentum in both the public and private sectors since the social justice protests that followed the death of George Floyd in 2020.
The controversy over Brainard’s replacement comes as the Federal Reserve takes steps to address inflationary pressures, which have surged to 6.4% in January 2023, up from 1.4% when President Biden took office in January 2021, the Daily Wire reported.
The central bank has raised target federal funds rates, potentially leading to a recession as borrowing costs for businesses and consumers increase. Real wages have fallen by 1.5% between January 2022 and January 2023, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Under the Biden administration, the Federal Reserve boasts record representation of women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ individuals, according to a report by the Associated Press.
The Biden administration has mandated that members of the Cabinet create “agency equity teams” to promote diversity and equity in the federal workforce.
The president has made announcements on several other occasions that he intended to make nominations for crucial positions on the basis of identity rather than merit.