What Janet Yellen Can Do at Treasury

In 2018, Donald Trump considered re-appointing Janet Yellen, now the country’s Treasury Secretary, to chair the Federal Reserve. But loud The Wall Street JournalHe feared the 5-foot-3 economist at the Fed “might be too small to convey stature” despite having been skillful at it for four years.

Speaking of stature, Trump is the first former president to be twice indicted, and Yellen is the first female Treasury Secretary.

Throughout her life, Yellen was known as a collector – of stones, stamps and premieres. She is the first person to hold the country’s three major business professions (in addition to serving as Treasury Secretary and Head of the Fed, she also chaired President Bill Clinton’s Council of Economic Advisers). In 1971, she was the only woman to receive her PhD in economics from Yale University. Yellen has been a leader in economic policy-making for the last quarter of a century and will need all of that experience in a role that will make her the captain of efforts to restore order to the Covid-19-ravaged economy while eliminating the underlying inequalities that are causing exposed the pandemic.

Yellen did not speak to me for this profile. But we persevered because it marks a new day in the Treasury Department – not just because of her gender, but also because of her career-long focus on how markets fail, especially how they fail the unemployed and those in the lower rungs of business leaders. It will be central to keeping Biden’s promise to “rebuild better” and pushing the country to the kind of innovations that require “better”.

Yellen is also a throwback to an earlier age of the bipartisan community. At her Senate Finance Committee confirmation hearing in mid-January, she received repeated praise from Republicans. The Senate upheld her 84-15 appointment. But proponents of progressive economic and racial justice also praise Yellen in superlatives. I have had the strange experience that several people have asked to speak to me confidentially because they have to work with the new CFO – not to criticize them, but to praise them without making the appearance. “She is the most progressive finance minister in history,” says someone who expects to work closely with her.

“Janet sees the world in terms of people living from paycheck to paycheck and how economic policies affect their lives and their ability to build a secure future,” says Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren, who prefers Yellens to some left Wanted to see job.

“Biden couldn’t have made a better choice given our mainstream DC policy,” agrees Robert Pollin, founding co-director of the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Yellen, a career-time Keynesian economist, is “firmly left of center,” adds Pollin. “It actually cares about the welfare of the working people and the poor.”

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