Penny Pritzker, the billionaire commerce secretary under President Barack Obama, would lead off with an overview of Mr. Biden’s plans. But the worried capitalists always wanted details, and for that, Ms. Pritzker would turn over the video calls to the little-known fulcrum of the Biden campaigns economic policymaking: a 43-year-old tax and budget specialist named Ben Harris.
Mr. Biden has a sprawling and secretive orbit of economists offering him policy advice as he seeks to pacify an insurgent liberal wing of economic thinkers within the Democratic Party and the business leaders who still feel mistreated by the Obama-Biden administration. Mr. Harris, an economist who is relatively anonymous even to other economists, has taken a starring role in both efforts.
A former chief economist for Mr. Biden in the White House, Mr. Harris helped fashion a campaign agenda from the work of a small inner circle and hundreds of outside economists and sell it to the donors, executives, labor unions and activists whom Mr. Biden needs behind him to win the election. He has two other jobs but works up to 50 hours a week for Mr. Biden, unpaid.