Janet Yellen: First Female Chairman of the Fed

On October 9, President Obama announced that he would nominate Ms. Janet Yellen as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. If confirmed, Yellen will be the first woman ever to hold this position in the Federal Reserve’s one hundred year history.

Ms. Yellen, who would be Mr. Ben Bernanke’s successor, is well qualified to lead the Fed. After graduating from Brown University in 1967, Yellen received her Ph. D. in Economics from Yale University. She has taught at a variety of universities, ranging from the London School of Economics to the Haas School of Business at the University of California at Berkley, where she holds the title of professor emeritus.

In addition to teaching, Yellen has held other high-ranking positions in the business world. She was the President and CEO of the Federal Bank of San Francisco and the Chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisors under President Bill Clinton.

If appointed, Ms. Yellen plans to lower the current unemployment rate, since she believes that unemployment is a larger problem than inflation. She has pushed for a controversial bill to hold interest rates near zero for longer than the Federal Reserve originally planned. Holding interest rates this low would require printing more money to put into circulation, which, while causing slight inflation (an estimated two percent in this case), would potentially expedite the fall in unemployment.

The reaction to Ms. Yellen’s nomination had been mixed. Plenty of people stand behind her, including President Obama, who cited how highly qualified and prepared she is to take on this role.  Others, spearheaded by Republican Senator Rand Paul and his #StandWithRand campaign, are against her nomination, even though they claim their position has nothing to do with her gender and capability. They instead cite the Federal Reserve’s inability to accept criticism as their problem with the organization. They hope to change the status quo of the Federal Reserve and how it operates by auditing it annually, a plan that a reported seventy percent of polled Americans will support.

As of now, Ms. Yellen’s appointment only needs to be confirmed by Congress. If appointed, Yellen would take office when Mr. Bernanke’s tenure expires on January 31.