Janet Yellen, First Jewish Woman Fed Chair, Brings Compassion to Tough Job

Signals Need To Boost Economy Even If Inflation Rises

Banker-in-Chief: Janet Yellen is introduced by President Barack Obama as his pick to be the next Federal Reserve chief.
getty images
Banker-in-Chief: Janet Yellen is introduced by President Barack Obama as his pick to be the next Federal Reserve chief.

By Reuters

Published October 09, 2013.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

Janet Yellen, President Barack Obama’s pick to lead the Federal Reserve, combines a solid reputation as an economist with a keen interest in communication - fitting for someone who once joked that her dinner guests should expect a discussion of economics.

Yellen, a former professor who would be the first Jewish woman to hold the job, has a reputation as one of the central bank’s most employment-focused officials and has also been at the forefront of a communications “revolution” at the once-secretive Fed.

She has been a close ally of Chairman Ben Bernanke as he took the central bank further and further into unfamiliar terrain to boost the U.S. economy, backing three rounds of bond buying that have swelled the Fed’s balance sheet to about $3.7 trillion.

Obama announced on Wednesday that he would nominate Yellen to succeed Bernanke. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, she would be the first woman to head the Fed in its 100-year history.

The white-haired Yellen played a big role in the Fed’s adoption of a 2 percent inflation target and its decision to treat undershooting and overshooting that target as equally problematic.

Like many Fed officials, Yellen, who counts hiking and cooking among her hobbies, believes ensuring that the public and financial markets understand the central bank’s plans is critical in making those policies effective.

“The effects of monetary policy depend critically on the public getting the message about what policy will do months or years in the future,” she told a journalists’ group in April.

The softly spoken 67-year-old is, by her own admission, willing to tolerate inflation overshooting the Fed’s 2 percent target when faced with uncomfortably high unemployment. “A wise and humane policy is occasionally to let inflation rise even when inflation is running above target,” she said in 1995.

In a speech last year, she argued the central bank can achieve the best economic outcome by allowing inflation to exceed the Fed’s target for several years to achieve a faster reduction in unemployment, as long as longer-term inflation expectations remain in check.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.