Most Powerful Woman Janet Yellen Fired For Being Too Short

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Who in the world is Janet Yellen, and why should I care?
When Donald Trump came into office, he let his Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen go for being “too short,” according to The Washington Post:

‘Janet L. Yellen was the most qualified Federal Reserve chair we’ve ever had and maybe the most successful Federal Reserve chair we’ve ever had. But, in part because she was also the shortest Federal Reserve chair we’ve ever had, she wasn’t reappointed by President Trump.

‘That’s not a joke, or at least not a deliberate one. Trump seems to believe that the Fed is a lot like a roller coaster: You have to be so tall to go on it.’

Janet Yellen will be the first female Treasury secretary after she’s confirmed by the Senate. As such, she will be tasked with leading Joe Biden’s economic response to the coronavirus pandemic. Confirmation should be easy. She was already confirmed before as only the 15th and the first woman chair of the Federal Reserve in 2014.

In A Nutshell

  • A Treasury Secretary is the chief financial officer for the federal government. That means she will manage the public debt. Congress controls spending and deficits
  • The Treasury collects taxes but doesn’t set tax policy
  • The Treasury prints money and manufactures currency, but the Federal Reserve manages the money supply
  • A Treasury Secretary advises the president on financial programs and policies that can create economic growth and job opportunities.
  • She will negotiate with Congress to put those programs into laws.
  • She serves as foreign diplomats on matters important to the U.S. economy.

What Shaped Her?

  • Yellen was born in a Polish Jewish neighborhood of New York City’s Brooklyn borough
  • Her mother was Anna Ruth (née Blumenthal, 1907–1986) was an elementary school teacher
  • Her father Julius Yellen (1906–1975), was a family physician who worked from the ground floor of their home
  • Her mentor James Tobin Nobel Laureate at Yale:
    • ‘Tobin was my teacher, but I will have to say he was more than my teacher. He was actually an inspiration to me. I think what impressed me was not only his analytic skills and his knowledge of macroeconomics and the work that he did, but also his very strong commitment to social justice and to the view that economics is magical and it’s about making the world a better place.’

Her Quotes:

‘We face great challenges as a country right now. To recover, we must restore the American dream—a society where each person can rise to their potential and dream even bigger for their children. As Treasury Secretary, I will work every day towards rebuilding that dream for all. (December 2020)’

‘Leading the Fed is like a designer choosing a paint color’

What You Do Not Know — Yet

  • She is the only Treasury secretary to be married to a Nobel Prize Winner, George Akerlof, 2001
  • She anticipated the end of the housing bubble
  • She was the first woman to be Federal Reserve chair
  • She began teaching at Berkley in 1980 and still does.
  • Dr. Yellen’s worth is $13 million.
  • Obama appointed Federal Reserve Chair, and she was confirmed by a vote of 17 to 6.
  • Under her, the unemployment rate fell from 6.7% in February 2014 to 4.1%
  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average set more than 150 record highs.

What Others Say About Her:

US Policy Strategist at AGF Investments Greg Valliere said:

‘Janet Yellen is brilliant and has a track record for being unflappable. She seems to be popular in all factions, from the financial markets to Main Street.’

Chief Economist at RSM US Joe Brusuelas said:

‘A Yellen-led Treasury would use the fiscal firepower of the United States to return to full employment. Yellen would be a great pick because she speaks to the whole economy.’

Co-founder of Progressive Change Campaign Committee Adam Green:

‘Janet Yellen has absolutely shown a willingness to challenge corporate power and not be intimidated by big banks. That is a key ingredient as you rebuild our economy.’

Education

  • Graduated from local Fort Hamilton High School as a valedictorian
  • Graduated summa cum laude from Brown University with a degree in economics
  • Received her Ph.D. in economics from Yale University
  • Received the Wilbur Cross Medal from Yale
  • Received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Brown
  • Received an honorary doctor of humane letters from Bard College.

Career

  • Assistant professor at Harvard University
  • Staff economist for the Federal Reserve Board
  • Faculty member at the London School of Economics and Political Science
  • Professor Emerita at the University of California at Berkeley.
  • Eugene E. and Catherine M. Trefethen Professor of Business and Professor of Economics (Berkley)
  • Fed Board member
  • Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers
  • Chair of the Economic Policy Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development
  • President and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
  • Vice-chair of the Fed Board of Governors
  • Vice-chair of the Federal Reserve System
  • Distinguished Fellow in Residence with the Economic Studies program at the Brookings Institution.
  • Affiliated with the Hutchins Center on Fiscal and Monetary Policy.
  • Adviser to the Magellan Group.1

How She Works

  • ‘[W]hat I do is I often compare the job of managing the committee to the issue a designer would have to face who is trying to decide what’s the right color to paint a room. You have 19 people around the table, and you want to come up with a decision we can all live with on what color to paint the room. And we’d go around the table…And the question is, are we ever going to converge? I would feel my job is get everybody to see that off-white is not a bad alternative. As brilliant as your choice was, maybe you could live with off-white, and it’s not so bad. And we can converge on that and it’s going to function just fine and maybe we can agree.’

She is the second in the series Meet The Women of Joe Biden’s Administration: Janet Louise Yellen. I hope you enjoy hearing about this remarkable woman as much as I enjoyed writing them. You will like her.

Sources

  • https://www.brookings.edu/blog/up-front/2018/03/05/janet-yellen-10-quotes-on-her-past-and-the-economy/
  • https://www.thebalance.com/janet-yellen-3305503
  • https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/janet-yellen

Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.

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