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September 19, 2013

Yellen’s Credentials to Lead the Fed

“In the immediate aftermath of Lawrence Summers’s withdrawal from consideration as the next chief of the Federal Reserve, there was a great deal of chatter in Washington along the lines of “anyone but Yellen”; Janet Yellen is the current vice chairwoman. Some influential commentators seem determined to leave no stone unturned in the search for someone other than her to take over Ben Bernanke’s job when his term as chairman expires in early 2014.

“This discussion is both misguided and distasteful. Not only is Ms. Yellen perfectly well qualified to lead the Fed, she might be the best qualified potential Fed chief ever. If Ms. Yellen were a man, we would not be having this conversation.

“No other contender to lead the Fed stands even a remote chance of being confirmed. And if the White House really wants a smooth path to confirmation, the strategy is simple: propose Ms. Yellen as chairwoman and Thomas Hoenig as vice chairman.

“The positive side of Mr. Summers’s putative candidacy is that the qualifications of Ms. Yellen have by now been reviewed extensively; for example, see this piece I wrote in July. She served on the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve inn the 1990s and as head of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers. Most importantly, perhaps, she was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco from 2004 to 2010 and, from that position, had a close view of what went wrong in housing and finance.”


Read Simon Johnson’s full Economix blog post here

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