Fed nominee Janet Yellen: 'Too many Americans still can't find a job' (+video)
Janet Yellen, after being nominated Wednesday by President Obama, spoke of the dual role of the Federal Reserve to help ensure 'the opportunity to work hard' while keeping inflation in check.
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Confirmation by a politically divided Senate is just the first, and maybe the easiest, part.
Then will come guiding policy for the central bank down a potentially tricky path: maximizing the economy’s potential to grow and create jobs while also staving off the risks of inflation or a new financial crisis.
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After being nominated for the job by President Obama Wednesday, the longtime Fed official spoke briefly, and framed the Fed’s job in positive terms.
“We can help ensure that everyone has the opportunity to work hard and build a better life. We can help make sure that inflation remains in check. We can and must safeguard the financial system,” said Ms. Yellen, the Fed’s current vice chair. “We have made progress…. We have farther to go.”
She said that despite the economic recovery since 2009, "too many Americans still can't find a job, and worry how they'll pay their bills." She punctuated that point by adding that “The mandate of the Federal Reserve is to serve all the American people.”
The president, in making the nomination, also emphasized the balancing act ahead, and his confidence that Yellen has the right outlook for the job.
“American workers and their families will have a champion in Janet Yellen,” Mr. Obama said.
He said she’s tough but knows how to listen to competing views and build consensus – a vital skill in a position where power hinges on keeping the members of a 12-person policy committee mostly on the same page.
Obama said Yellen is committed to “both sides” of the Fed’s so-called dual mandate, which includes promoting full employment but also holding guard over the stability of consumer prices and the safety of the banking system.
Yellen’s nomination is still subject to scrutiny by the US Senate, where some Republicans worry that she may be too “dovish” in the long-term fight against inflation.
If confirmed, she would succeed Ben Bernanke, who will depart in January at the end of two four-year terms in the post.
To a significant degree, Obama’s choice of Yellen signals continuity at the central bank. Both Yellen and Bernanke are economists more tied to the intricacies of policymaking than to connections on Wall Street or Capitol Hill.
Both have won considerable praise for their service at the Fed in recent years.
Compared with others at the Fed, Yellen was among the earliest to voice concern about the potential for a housing downturn to deepen.
Both she and Bernanke are viewed as successful advocates for efforts by the Fed to use unconventional ways to stimulate growth – at the time when the policy committee had already brought its short-term interest rate for bank borrowing to essentially zero percent.