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Janet Yellen: The New Face of the Fed

January 9, 2014

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She’s a Keynesian. She’s a Democrat. It’s a she. Change has come to the Federal Reserve chairmanship.

On Monday, Jan. 6, the U.S. Senate confirmed Janet Yellen, Ph.D., as the next chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. As widely reported, Dr. Yellen will be the first woman to lead the Fed since its founding in 1913. But Dr. Yellen has been influencing Fed policy since long before her confirmation as chairman

Dr. Yellen began her service with the Federal Reserve in 1994, serving as a member of the Board of Governors until 1997. Dr. Yellen returned to the Fed in 2004, as president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve. In October 2010, she took office as vice chair of the Board of Governors, a position she currently holds.

Her long-term service with the Fed prior to being confirmed as chairman is only one of several things that differentiate her from her recent predecessors. Dr. Yellen is a Keynesian – a believer that government spending and low taxes can jumpstart the economy. Discussions of Yellen’s beliefs and qualifications suggest that she cares deeply about the “human face of economics,” and it has been reported that she insists that colleagues recognize the impact of broad economic shifts on average Americans. In fact, Dr. Yellen’s statement accepting her nomination for the chairmanship in October highlighted both the needs of the American people and her belief that the Federal Reserve can help:

“The mandate of the Federal Reserve is to serve all the American people, and too many Americans still can’t find a job and worry how they will pay their bills and provide for their families. The Federal Reserve can help, if it does its job effectively. We can help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to work hard and build a better life. We can ensure that inflation remains in check and doesn’t undermine the benefits of a growing economy. We can and must safeguard the financial system.” –Janet Yellen, Oct. 9, 2013

Only time will tell what policies Dr. Yellen will enact after she assumes the chairmanship on Feb. 1, 2014. But it is a safe bet to say that she will carefully consider the widespread consequences of any policy before taking action.

 

To learn more about Janet Yellen and her qualifications, please read her biography available on the Federal Reserve System website: http://www.federalreserve.gov/aboutthefed/bios/board/yellen.htm

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