Biden Reportedly to Choose Janet Yellen as US Treasury Secretary

Daniel Fowler
November 24, 2020

The outgoing administration could make rectifying this situation more hard for Yellen: Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin provoked rare criticism from central bank officials when he announced last week that funding for emergency Fed programs to stabilize small- and medium-size businesses would be cut off at the end of the year, a move Biden allies charged was calculated to hamstring the president-elect's ability to counteract the economic devastation of the pandemic without protracted congressional wrangling. Elizabeth Warren of MA would have been a good fit to lead the department.

Ms. Yellen, who was praised by President Trump for her tenure as Fed chair, was widely hailed as an inspired choice for the post, although some far-left Democrats thought Sen. Yellen was the first woman to chair the Fed when she succeeded Ben Bernanke in 2014, after having served as vice chair since 2010. On the contrary, under Bernanke and Yellen - and later, under Powell - the Fed's more hard challenge became raising inflation merely to the Fed's annual 2% target level. She will also be asked to make good on the former vice president's campaign promise to narrow the economic divide between rich and poor in the United States. That move broke a four-decade tradition of presidents allowing Fed chairs to serve at least two terms even if they had first been nominated by a president of the opposing party.

Biden told reporters last week of his treasury selection: "It's someone who will be accepted by all elements of the Democratic Party, from the progressive to the moderate coalitions".

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Conservative groups warned that Ms. Yellen has some drawbacks.

Yet some progressives have also criticized Yellen for the Fed's December 2015 decision to raise its benchmark rate from near zero, where it had been pegged since late 2008 in the midst of the financial crisis.

Ms Yellen, the former head of the Federal Reserve, is a known quantity on financial markets and "has been favourable to the idea of fiscal stimulus", said Gregori Volokhine of Meeschaert Financial Services. They have one son, Robert, who is an economics professor.

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