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After the President of the United States of America, the second most powerful person in our country is arguably the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Banking System. This appointed (i.e. non-elected) official is handpicked to guide the monetary policy of our national government, which essentially puts his or her hand on the tiller of the global economy. And it looks like that hand may finally belong to a “her” quite soon. With longtime chairman Ben Bernanke set to step down from the Fed’s top post soon, President Obama has nominated Janet Yellen to assume the chairmanship.
5 Yellen’s Education and Relations Are Well Suited to the Job
Janet Yellen studied economics at Ivy League Brown University, where she graduated with highest honors: summa cum laude. She then went on to Yale, where she earned her Ph.D. also in the same field. Beyond her own educational and professional experience, Yellen is also married to a Nobel Prize-winning economist, George Akerlof, who received the 2001 prize for his work in the field.
4 Yellen Predicted the Great Recession
When so-called experts from myriad walks of life—ranging from Washington regulators to Wall Street investors—were busy letting the good times roll as the housing market inflated into an unsustainable bubble, Yellen was sounding the alarm about a potential crash and subsequent recession. Well before the start of the “credit crunch” and ensuing recession, Yellen, then a member of the Federal Open Market Committee, a committee within the Federal Reserve System, was saying “the risk of recession no longer seems remote.”
3 Yellen’s Resume Is Perfect for an Incoming Fed Chair
Yellen could hardly have more appropriate experience than she does without already having served as chairman of the Fed. Along with teaching economics at such prestigious institutions as Harvard and the London School of Economics, she served as the chair of President Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisors. And aside from being an influential member of the board of the Fed for years, including the title of Vice Chair, which she currently hold, Yellen has also served as the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. Outside the realm of economics, she is also is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
2 Yellen Would Be the First Female Fed Chair
While in an ideal world, the gender of the chairperson of the Federal Reserve System would not matter, the fact is that all fourteen of the preceding people to hold that post have been men. In the 100 years since the Federal Reserve Banks were established, men have dominated the board. While today there are three women (including Yellen) on the seven person board, a woman’s ascendance to the top seat will still be historic, and long overdue.
1 Current Fed Policy Would Not Change Under Yellen
In what can only be considered a huge relief for economists, investors and mortgage-holders alike, experts predict little or no change to current monetary policy if Janet Yellen takes over the Fed chair from Ben Bernanke. The two have worked in near lockstep for years, and have the same basic outlook when it comes to matters of quantitative easing (AKA bond buying), corporate oversight (lacking before the Great Recession) and interest rates, which will likely remain near historic lows if/when Yellen is confirmed.