On the eve of becoming the first female to ever head up the Federal Reserve, Janet Yellen stood her ground on the Fed's stimulus policies during a Senate questioning Thursday. Admitting that the labor market and the economy as a whole were performing "far short" of their potential, she noted that the Fed "has more work to do" before things can get better. Plus, she swore to "never forget" her Brooklyn, NY. roots, which just makes us love her ever more.
In her first public remarks on Fed policy since June 2, Yellen took a firm defensive stance on the bank's stimulus, whilst also humbly confessing that "the Fed did miss a lot of the linkages that caused the financial crisis." She expressed a strong commitment to fixing the unemployment problem, which at 7.3 percent at present are looking far better than the mid-recession peak of 10 percent. "We have made good progress, but we have farther to go to regain the ground lost in the crisis and the recession," she said.
More good news: Yellen knows we're all kinda struggling to understand America's financial bureaucracy, and she's been an outspoken about her hope of improving its transparency. "Monetary policy is most effective when the public understands what the Fed is trying to do, and how it plans to do it," she said.
Unfortunately, a few tricky questions went unanswered. When asked about what the Fed might do to decrease inequalities, she kept responding that that's not her job. And, perhaps for the best, Yellen remained vague on what to do with Big Banks.
Given the 67-year old economics professor's pretty fantastic credentials, she might just be the person to spearhead a strong economic recovery. And investors seemed to trust her judgment, too: stocks reached an all-session high during her testimony today, and continued to rise in Europe.
While it is yet to be seen if Yellen secures the position, things are looking promising. Yellen only needs backing from a few Republicans to reach the 60-member majority she needs; Democrats control 55 of the 100 seats, and most of them, if not all, are expected to vote for Obama's nominee. However, it's still unclear when the vote will take place.
The best part of Thursday's hearing? When New York Democratic senator Charles Schumer adjourned the session in style, telling Yellen that — and we quote — her "Brooklyn wisdom shines through."
"I will never forget my roots," Yellen answered. Basically, she's still Yellen from the block. Keep it real, girl.