President Obama has nominated Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve. She would be the first woman ever to head the world’s most powerful central bank.
“Janet is exceptionally well qualified for this role,” Obama said at a White House ceremony on Wednesday afternoon. “She doesn’t have a crystal ball, but what she does have is a keen understanding about how markets and the economy work, not just in theory but also in the real world. And she calls it like she sees it.”
Yellen was championed by many in the progressive movement who resisted the nomination of former treasury secretary Larry Summers — a student of Yellen’s while a graduate student at Harvard University in the early 1980s. Summers eventually removed his own name from consideration and has since called Yellen “a terrific choice.”
In her statement, Yellen said that “more needs to be done to strengthen the economy.”
She added, “While we have made progress, we have farther to go. 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’ll pay their bills and provide for their families.”
The Brown- and Yale-educated Yellen has been the most accurate forecaster on the Federal Reserve’s Open Markets Committee (FOMC), according to the Wall Street Journal. Many analysts expect her to continue the Fed’s monetary stimulus — currently $85 billion a month in bond purchases — that has supported the growth in the stock market, while being more tolerant of inflation than current Fed chair Ben Bernanke.
“I do not think any chair nominee ever has been better prepared to take the job than Janet Yellen is right now,” said J. Bradford DeLong, a member of the Clinton administration Treasury Department and current professor of economics at the University of California at Berkeley.
Yellen is the longest-serving official at the Fed and was the first official in the bank to warn of a housing bubble. Her husband George Akerlof co-won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 2001 for a study about the used-car market.