Mt. Vernon Register-News

Opinion

October 11, 2013

At last, a nominee at the Fed

Janet Yellen was not well served by the process that culminated in her nomination Wednesday to be the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. President Obama broadly implied, but did not openly state, his preference for former Treasury secretary Lawrence H. Summers, setting off a months-long struggle between pro-Summers and pro-Yellen factions. The fact that Yellen survived the competition at the insistence of liberal Democrats, who have pegged her as an easy-money “dove” more eager than Summers to fight unemployment and rein in big banks, may have had the effect of tilting perceptions of her beliefs before she’s had a chance to explain them herself.

Poorly handled though it might have been, Obama’s choice of Yellen is still a very solid one. Her credentials — as an academic economist, a Clinton White House adviser and a veteran of senior positions throughout the Fed system — are impeccable; they’re as strong as, or stronger than, those of anyone previously chosen for the position. (Of course, they are stronger than those of any woman tapped as Fed chair because Yellen is the first, another reason to hail her nomination.) Perhaps most impressive is her recent record as a forecaster, which includes spotting the devastating housing bubble before many others did.

We suspect that Yellen, if confirmed by the Senate, would fulfill neither the hopes of her liberal backers nor the fears of her conservative detractors. In part, this is because the very notion of a monetary “hawk vs. dove” divide lost some of its meaning when most mainstream economists and financial experts accepted the need for massive monetary expansion.

to fight the Great Recession; they are now arguing mainly over the pace at which those extraordinary measures can and should be undone. Alas for the Fed and its credibility, the central bank’s most recent efforts to inform the public about its plans went awry last month, when the Fed disappointed expectations of a slowdown in bond-buying, and did so amid much publicly aired internal discussion. One of Yellen’s first and most important tasks will be to repair that damage, if she can.

Text Only
Opinion
  • I signed what? When Dr. Sam said, "You've got the prostate of a 16-year-old," it was hard to keep from beaming. This must be how a woman feels when a complete stranger tells her she has a beautiful baby. Well, maybe not quite. Still, it was hard not to feel proud o

    April 19, 2014

  • Obamacare's winning numbers Obamacare's critics have had a bad week. On Thursday, President Obama announced that 8 million people have enrolled in new health insurance plans through the Affordable Care Act's marketplaces, and a significant portion of them are young Americans. Y

    April 19, 2014

  • The rise of big data: A double-edged sword Debates are raging about whether big data still holds the promise that was expected or whether it was just a big bust. The failure of the much-hyped Google Flu Trends to accurately predict peak flu levels since August 2011 has heightened the concerns

    April 19, 2014

  • Only love can re-make your heart Was Jeb Bush right to insert love into a political debate? Such was the gist of a question I was asked on talk radio in response to the former Florida governor's assertion that some immigrants come into the United States illegally as an "act of love.

    April 18, 2014

  • Stop big tobacco from promoting e-cigarettes The tobacco industry is sharply raising spending on advertisements and other marketing for electronic cigarettes to try to make smoking glamorous again and hook a new generation of Americans on nicotine. We shouldn't let them get away with it. If adu

    April 18, 2014

  • A mental health checkup The country's inadequate mental health system gets the most attention after instances of mass violence of the sort that the nation has seen repeatedly over the past few months. Not all who commit these sorts of atrocities are mentally ill, but many h

    April 18, 2014

  • Your new password: sur**nder Have you changed your passwords since the security flaw known as Heartbleed emerged? Have you made sure they're all long, alphanumeric and randomized? Did you use a unique one for every site -- every bank account, every e- mail address, every music-s

    April 17, 2014

  • Hillary leans on Bill, Obama Recently Hillary Clinton gave what appeared at first to be a rambling and unfocused answer when asked to name the proudest achievement of her four years as Secretary of State. The short version is, she doesn't have one. But Clinton's words make a lot

    April 17, 2014

  • If GOP lost culture war, liberals did, too The "culture wars" have been a feature of American politics for almost a century, but recently a number of commentators have declared their end. Conservatives have lost, swept aside by a wave of enthusiasm for marriage equality and sexualized mass cu

    April 17, 2014

  • Cable guys too slow with Internet upgrade Remember the good-old 1990s, when you could make a pot of coffee while waiting for the screeching dial-up modem to connect to the Internet at a leisurely 9.6 kilobits per second? Two decades later, the average American household's connection is 1,000

    April 16, 2014

Twitter Updates
Facebook
Stocks