The leader of the Federal Reserve always has a choice to make: what's more important? The unemployment rate, or inflation? Janet Yellen has been making her choice clear for decades.
The 67-year-old Fed veteran was confirmed Monday by the Senate — making her America's first woman chosen to lead the Federal Reserve. She replaces Ben Bernanke on Feb 1, beginning a four-year term. (Via YouTube / UCBerkeleyHaas)
Yellen is what's known as a "dove" — more concerned with getting the unemployment rate down than with halting the inflation of currency. That's not always the most popular policy on Wall Street.
But it is popular with progressive voices like Ezra Klein at The Washington Post, who said the nation needs a Fed chair who really cares about unemployment and that "Appointing her would be a signal to the markets — and everyone else — that the Fed isn't simply going to accept the status quo as America's new normal."
This might mean she'll be more willing to make the Federal Reserve more active and intervening than her predecessor. As Bernanke's number two, she was a leading voice in expanding the Fed's reach and pumping more money into the economy. (Via The New York Times)
And, with that in mind, the vote to confirm her Monday might have been more dramatic if not for a recent Senate rule change. You remember: the one that requires only simple majority support for presidential nominations, rather than the 60 votes previously needed. (Via C-SPAN)
For the record, former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, who was also up for this job, would also be considered a "dove" — though the consensus among pundits and economic experts seems to be that Yellen is even more of one.