Rebecca M. Blank was a top candidate in 2011 to lead President Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, but then the White House turned up something politically dangerous.
“A commitment to economic justice necessarily implies a commitment to the redistribution of economic resources, so that the poor and the dispossessed are more fully included in the economic system,” Ms. Blank, a noted poverty researcher, wrote in 1992. With advisers wary of airing those views in a nomination fight, Mr. Obama passed over Ms. Blank, then a top Commerce Department official and now the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin. Instead he chose Alan Krueger, a Princeton economist.
“Redistribution is a loaded word that conjures up all sorts of unfairness in people’s minds,” said William M. Daley, who was Mr. Obama’s chief of staff at the time.