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Janet Yellen: A True Public Servant

Summary:
Janet Yellen ended her term as Chair of the Federal Reserve today. Source: Federal Reserve Source: @pcubab Rather than add my own encomium, I’ll just quote Jim Hamilton’s impeccably-argued case for reappointing Dr. Yellen: The economy and financial markets have performed very well while Yellen has been at the helm. To be sure, the Federal Reserve is just one factor in that, but a factor nonetheless. Unemployment has reached a 16-year low and stock prices made all-time highs. Monetary policy and financial markets are returning to normal and banks’ balance sheets are healthy. Markets have confidence in U.S. monetary policy, and so do I. I’ll acknowledge that I might have done some things differently. I’ve favored a slower trajectory for hiking interest rates this year and next than the Fed

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Janet Yellen ended her term as Chair of the Federal Reserve today.


Source: Federal Reserve

Janet Yellen: A True Public Servant
Source: @pcubab

Rather than add my own encomium, I’ll just quote Jim Hamilton’s impeccably-argued case for reappointing Dr. Yellen:

The economy and financial markets have performed very well while Yellen has been at the helm. To be sure, the Federal Reserve is just one factor in that, but a factor nonetheless. Unemployment has reached a 16-year low and stock prices made all-time highs. Monetary policy and financial markets are returning to normal and banks’ balance sheets are healthy. Markets have confidence in U.S. monetary policy, and so do I.

I’ll acknowledge that I might have done some things differently. I’ve favored a slower trajectory for hiking interest rates this year and next than the Fed has been following. But I have enough confidence in Yellen’s judgment to be convinced that if I’m right in that assessment, the Fed will slow the pace of hikes. And if instead the Fed keeps charging up, it’s probably because I was wrong and Yellen was right.

One reason I say that is because I am extremely impressed by the collective expertise of the staff of economists working for both the Federal Reserve Board in Washington DC as well as the many regional banks. The staff is very well informed, and the Federal Reserve is unique among all the institutions with which I am familiar in enabling the many individuals to work as a team to analyze everything that is going on. The Fed is not a top-down institution, where the boss gives the orders and everyone reluctantly follows. Instead, it’s a place where the key insights and information of different individuals can make their way up to the top. This is thanks in part to the style of leadership cultivated by Chair Bernanke and strengthened further by Chair Yellen. Both are solid, independent thinkers, capable of decisive action, but also very good listeners. These are the core attributes we need in a Federal Reserve chair.

The Nation is in her debt for masterfully steering the economy toward full employment, while implementing strong regulations necessary to prevent a repeat of past financial debacles.

Menzie Chinn
He is Professor of Public Affairs and Economics at the University of Wisconsin, Madison

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