John Bryson announced today that he’ll be taking a “leave of absence” from his position as Secretary of Commerce in light of last night’s car wreck incident. That means Deputy Commerce Secretary Rebecca Blank is now Acting Secretary of Commerce.
It’s a job she’s held in the past. Back in August of 2011 she was Undersecretary of Commerce for Economic Affairs and head of the Economics and Statistics Administration when then-Secretary Gary Locke was appointed Ambassador to China. The Deputy Secretary job was vacant, and John Bryson’s confirmation as the new Secretary was held up by a months-long filibuster over an unrelated trade matter.
Blank is a much more interesting person than Bryson in a lot of ways, the author of a bunch of wonky economic policy works including It Takes A Nation: A New Agenda for Fighting Poverty, Changing Inequality, Insufficient Funds: Savings, Assets, Credit, and Banking Among Low Income Families, and Is The Market Moral. I won’t claim to have read all those books, but I have read parts of some of them. Changing Inequality concludes, incidentally, that “that per-person income has risen sharply among almost all social groups, even as income has become more unequally distributed” a conclusion somewhat at odds with a lot of recent liberal rhetoric though also backed up by Jamie Galbraith’s Inequality and Instability.