This moment is historic. For the first time in history a woman is nominated to chair the Federal Reserve. Assuming Dr. Janet Yellen does a good job, this alone will help millions of women in finance and economics, which to this day is fraught with gender bias and glass ceilings. She is already inspiring the phrase, Yellenomics and referred to as Bernanke Redux for most perceive the Fed and their policies will not change much in the transition.
Yellen is considered a dove, and will continue the easy money, effective zero interest rates and potentially quantitative easing. The financial press has been pouring over her speeches, Federal Reserve votes, papers and personal background. This article highlights some of the tidbits discovered.
New on the Fed Board, She Voted Against Greenspan
Alan Greenspan has become a dirty word in finance, so this fact is a positive sign Yellen has some cojones.
Concerned that consumers were being misled about interest rates on bank deposits, Yellen successfully urged her fellow policymakers to amend a Fed regulation despite opposition from Greenspan. The 4-3 vote was one of only two he lost in more than 18 years leading the Fed.
Praise and Awe
Yellen was also deemed most accurate in economic forecasting and generally receives praise and endorsement from most economists.
She has had far more experience at the Fed than any other potential candidate, she has a good track record at calling economic trends (this is relative – no one at the Fed foresaw the 2007-2008 liquidity crisis coming or the housing bubble)
Here Comes the Bad
Now for the bad news. Yellen backed Glass-Steagall repeal, one of the critical events which led to the financial crisis of 2008. She also loves bad trade deals, which are a cause of economic ongoing malaise.
Yellen supported a host of economic policies during the Clinton era that have since become broadly unpopular. She backed the repeal of the landmark Glass-Steagall bank reform and she supported the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement. She also pressured the government to develop a new statistical metric intended to lower payments to senior citizens on Social Security.
Yellen pushed for NAFTA, the start of the great American jobs exodus that has never ceased.
In 1993, she joined dozens of other academics in signing a letter to Clinton advocating for the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Yellen is also behind chained CPI a measure that would significantly lower social security benefits over time. This is actually a big deal for chained CPI has been shown to be disastrous for those dependent on social security benefits.
Yellen also had Countrywide happen under her watch, although she testified before Congress The better news here is she is one of the few who owned up to her mistakes, a rare quality mostly lacking with policy makers, especially in Washington D.C.
Ms. Yellen told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission in 2010 that she and other San Francisco Fed officials pressed Washington for new guidance, sharing the problems they were seeing. But Ms. Yellen did not raise those concerns publicly, and she said that she had not explored the San Francisco Fed’s ability to act unilaterally, taking the view that it had to do what Washington said.
“For my own part,” Ms. Yellen said, “I did not see and did not appreciate what the risks were with securitization, the credit ratings agencies, the shadow banking system, the S.I.V.’s — I didn’t see any of that coming until it happened.” Her startled interviewers noted that almost none of the officials who testified had offered a similar acknowledgment of an almost universal failure.
to her mistakes.
So the bottom line is Yellen is capable, competent and no Progressive. That said, quantitative easing tapering is one tricky wicket and if done wrong could have disastrous effects on the global economy. The IMF just warned on the withdrawal of the Federal Reserve's quantitative easing and how some emerging economies, most notably Turkey are unprepared. With the nomination of Yellen will give some emerging economies more time to adjust.
Below is Obama's nomination of Yellen and frankly he doesn't sound too enthusiastic and worse, Obama mentions her spouse, which is seriously not relevant for this position. Little verbiage is given to her extensive qualifications. Ladies, you've got a long way to go considering this nomination speech. Obama also praised Benanke, trying to back peddle after firing him on Charlie Rose of all places. Yellen gives an introductory speech in the below clip where she talks specifically about people not being able to find a job.
Next up is confirmation from the Senate, where Yellen is expected to be confirmed. Bloomberg put together a mini biographical background video on Yellen, shown below.
Note, this will make a United States Citizen woman one of the most powerful people in the world.