This is part of a series, ‘Economists Exchange’, featuring conversations between top FT commentators and leading economists about coronavirus economic recovery

Heather Boushey, a member of US president Joe Biden’s Council of Economic Advisors and one of the architects of the administration’s approach to everything from corporate concentration to inequality, climate change and the caring economy, is in some ways the embodiment of the president’s “work, not wealth” slogan. “My dad was a machinist at Boeing,” she says. “I was very lucky. He was in a union. He had great healthcare . . . That foundation allowed me to get to college and to graduate school.”

The fact that this paradigm hardly exists now is one of the things that motivates the 51-year-old economist, who previously ran the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. “If you walk into a basic economics class, the professor is likely to say that…

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