News Column

Janet Yellen: Change and Continuity at the Fed

November 19, 2013

Isaac Cohen --

janet yellen
Janet Yellen, President Obama's nominee for head of the Federal Reserve (file photo)

On Jan. 31, 2014, there will be change of helmsperson at the Federal Reserve. President Obama has nominated Janet Yellen, currently the vice chair of the Federal Reserve, to succeed Ben Bernanke.

If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Ms. Yellen will be the first woman ever to become the most powerful banker in the world.

The confirmation process started last week with the testimony presented by Ms. Yellen to the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs. In her testimony, Ms. Yellen described the central bank's three functions as promoting maximum employment, low and stable inflation, and a safe and sound financial system.

In her review of recent experience, Ms. Yellen recognized that by exercising these functions under the guidance of Mr. Bernanke, the central bank was able to stabilize the financial system, arrest the steep fall in the economy and restart growth.

On current economic conditions, Ms. Yellen said that "we have made good progress, but we have farther to go to regain the ground lost in the crisis and in the recession."

Therefore, with unemployment at 7.3 percent still too high and inflation below the central bank's goal of 2 percent, monetary policy is promoting a more robust recovery.

Pointing toward continuity, Ms. Yellen said she believes "supporting the recovery today is the surest path to returning to a more normal approach to monetary policy."


Isaac Cohen is an international analyst and consultant, a commentator on economic and financial issues for CNN en Espaņol TV and radio, and a former director, UNECLAC Washington Office.

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