Democrat US president-elect Joe Biden has reportedly named former Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen as Secretary of the Treasury, continuing a near-perfect record of re-recruiting former Obama staffers to fill his cabinet.
Yellen, who became the first woman to serve as Fed chair in 2014, was floated as Biden’s Treasury pick by the Wall Street Journal on Monday. If confirmed, she will be returning to Washington after two years in the private sector with the Brookings Institution.
Despite her controversial 2017 claim that the US would not see another economic crisis like the one her predecessor Ben Bernanke presided over in 2008 “in our lifetime,” Yellen changed her tune under the Trump administration. A year after Trump replaced her with current Fed chair Jerome Powell, she acknowledged there were “gigantic holes in the [financial] system” and admitted the toothless regulations that were enacted to prevent a repeat of 2008 were less than effective.
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The 74-year-old, who served as an economic adviser to the Biden campaign, has called for a more muscular economic commitment to addressing climate change, including a carbon tax that would somehow be “shared with households” (presumably not the households paying the tax). In an interview last month, she suggested that “capitalism is beginning to run amok and needs to be readjusted in order to make sure that what we’re doing is sustainable and the benefits of growth are widely shared in ways they haven’t been.”
Like many others with their fingers on the pulse of the US economy, she warned of a financial criss last year due to swelling corporate debt and regulatory incompetence – phenomena she appeared not to believe in before she was fired from the Trump administration.
Yellen was named the second most powerful woman in the world following her appointment to lead the Fed in 2014. If appointed by Biden, she would be the first female Treasury Secretary in US history.
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