The nomination of the Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the Fed) is now complete after a Senate confirmation Monday. President Barack Obama made the decision to appoint Dr. Janet Yellen, according to official statements made from the White House, based on her experience and perceived level of accurate economic predictions. Obama also pointed out her Brooklyn roots, alluding to her connection to working class families by way of proximity.
The New York Times noted the dual criticisms that came across from politicians in Washington from both sides, even though both sides came together to help her become confirmed as the next Fed chairwoman. Some criticize the Fed for doing too much and others for doing too little. One member of Congress, as could be seen on CSPAN, in his opening remarks, mentioned a study from the Wall Street Journal that found her predictions to be the most accurate. He also noted her many recommendations from the academic side of economics, a fact the White House also promoted in its statement to the public.
As the Washington policy makers questioned Yellen, there was a clear tone of disappointment in policies at the Federal Reserve. Criticisms of policies included the low interest rates that prevent savers, especially the elderly, from gaining traction on their savings investments. Many members of Congress said they would like to see more transparency, but Yellen countered that the Fed is already the most transparent financial institution in the world. Yet, it has never once been audited. Though a private institution, the Federal Reserve controls U.S. monetary policy.
Strong opponents have called to abolish the Fed, including Texas Republican and libertarian, Ron Paul and his Kentucky Tea Party son, Rand Paul. Probably no one in Washington opposes any Fed decision more than the Kentucky Tea Partier. Rand tweeted his discontent with the Fed and continued the legacy of distrust in the Federal Reserve that his father had planted. “I will speak on the Senate floor this afternoon in opposition to the nomination of Janet Yellen to the Federal Reserve,” one tweet declared.
Rand Paul’s tweets were reposted at Alex Jones’ InfoWars, where the Senator’s tweets demonstrated a clear libertarian view on the economic policies of the financial system itself.
Yellen was praised by Senator Tim Johnson (D-S.D), citing her “extensive and impressive record of public service and academia.” He called her the “most qualified” for the position and added, “Americans should feel reassured” to have her in charge of the Fed. Yellen was confirmed as the next Fed chair by the Senate on Monday on the first day after Congress returned from the winter break. She will begin as chairwoman on February 1 as the 15th chair in the history of the America’s central bank.
Much of the attention has yet to be focused on Yellen herself, who she actually is, what her policies really are and what her policies will mean for workers, entrepreneurs, businesses and the U.S. economy in general. She is the first female Federal Reserve Chair in its 100-year history. Yellen was confirmed as Fed chief by the Senate by the thinnest margin in its history as well, succeeding Ben Bernanke for Chair with a 56-26 vote tally. Some Senators could not make the trip in the bad weather.
By Rob Lawson