Yellin’ About Yellen

I haven’t been following the issue of choosing a new Federal Reserve chairperson that closely, but today lots of people are writing about it, and it’s jaw-dropping stuff.

Apparently the main contenders are Lawrence Summers (booooo!) and Janet Yellen (yay!). Yellen is vice chairwoman of the Fed’s board of governors, and everybody who understands this stuff says she would be an awesome choice.

But the resistance to Yellen has taken what we might call a patriarchal turn. Some guy with the improbable name of Cardiff Garcia writes,

This particular plank of support for a Yellen candidacy was reinforced by the Wall Street Journal’s analysis on Monday of FOMC forecasts since 2009. It turns out that she has also been successful, more than any other FOMC member, at predicting the short-term trajectories of the major economic indicators.

Obviously there’s no guarantee that this would continue, but at the very least this serves to further disprove one very peculiar notion given by Ezra Klein’s sources last week for preferring Larry Summers to Yellen — specifically the notion that “the market” trusts Summers more, because (we guess?) he’ll be a tough manly man on inflation while she’s a homeless-hugging San Francisco hippie female person who will let the US economy revert back to the hellspun apocalyptic landscape of the 1970s, ushering in another era of frozen wastelands and broken homes and shattered dreams.

Say what? Paul Krugman explains that last bit:

I’ve spent five years and more watching the inflationphobes, who weren’t particularly sensible to begin with, descend into shrill unholy madness. They could have reacted to the failure of their predictions — the continued absence of the runaway inflation they insisted was just around the corner — by stepping back and reconsidering both their model and their recommendations. But no. At best, we see a proliferation of new reasons to raise interest rates in a depressed economy, with nary an acknowledgment that previous predictions were dead wrong. At worst, we see conspiracy theories — we actually have double-digit inflation, but the BLS is spiriting the evidence away in its black helicopters and burying it in Area 51.

So at this point I thought I’d seen everything. But no: the prospect that Janet Yellen, a monetary dove, might become the next Fed chair has driven the right into a frenzy of — well, words fail me.

But the real objections coming out against Yellen are more, shall we say, primordial. Ezra Klein writes about The subtle, sexist whispering campaign against Janet Yellen. But after seeing this New York Sun editorial on The Female Dollar, I can’t say I see anything subtle. That’s about the most blatantly sexist thing I’ve read in a long time. I’m not going to quote the thing; just see for yourself.

Jonathan Chait writes

The Sun’s point — captured in its headline, “The Female Dollar?” — struck the Wall Street Journal’s editors as so clever as to bear repeating in their own editorial today. Yellen, the Journal concedes, “doesn’t lack for professional credentials. But her cause has been taken up by the liberal diversity police as a gender issue because she’d be the first female Fed chairman.”

See how it works? It’s not the pigs pundits at the Sun who are sexist, but evil libruhls who support a woman for the position who are sexist. Because no matter how well qualified they are — and Cardiff Garcia, above, links to a Wall Street Journal analysis that says Yellen is very qualified, indeed — the only reason libruhls want women and minorities hired into important positions is that they are women and minorities, which is of course sexist and racist. So the only way to avoid sexism and racism is to hire only white men.

16 thoughts on “Yellin’ About Yellen

  1. I think either choice would be fine, but I’d love to see the look on gold-standard ignoramous Ron Paul when he caught wind of Yellen’s nomination. “A female dollar over my nearly-dead body!”

  2. The “Female Dollar?”

    What, Martha on the $1 bill?
    Mary Lincoln on the $5 bill and penny?
    Sally Jennings on the nickel?
    Eleanor on the dime?
    Jackie on the 50 cent piece?

    And what, the bills are going to have to become pink?

    And I think that, over the last 20 years, we’ve heard quite enough from the economists of Summers’ ilk.

    And am I the only one who thinks that Andrea Mitchell couldn’t have done a better job at the Fed, than Alan Greenspan?

    I’m at the “Anybody BUT Summers” point!

    After the mess men have made in politics, and on this planet, I would be happy to bow before my new Female Overlords.
    They couldn’t possibly do any worse!!!

  3. Of course, if the economy keeps getting w0rse, who better to blame than a woman? This could be a very useful appointment.

  4. biggerbox – hilarious joke! One question though: when did Sarah Palin get a pilot’s license?

  5. “It’s not the pundits at the Sun who are sexist, but evil libruhls who support a woman for the position who are sexist”

    Right you’re catching on, just like those who don’t consider Trayvon a dope peddling gangsta wannabee thug are racists as well, see simple. The righties know who they are, so they label their rivals with the mud first, just like back in fourth grade!

  6. If you read Confidence Men by Ron Suskind you would get the impression that there was no way in H-E-doublehockeysticks that Larry Summers was ever going to get the nod from Obama. Basically, Larry was running the WH and Obama was the naive dupe. But, Obama appears to be the man with no ego (maybe he’s a secret bodhisattva) and seems to hold no ill-will against anyone, even when he should, as in this case. But my advice for open seats and positions for Democrats stands; find the best qualified woman and run/nominate her.

  7. I think either choice would be fine

    Summers is a disaster in virtually everything he does except schmoozing higher-ups. If you think a guy who managed to lose 1.8 billion dollars of Harvard’s money through risky investments made after overriding their money managers is a good choice for managing our financial health, you really don’t know what you’re talking about.

  8. I read the New York Sun piece, and also the followup, Freud and the Fed, in which they respond to Krugman in a thoroughly unconvincing manner. Sexist it is, but I’m willing to concede that their main complaint isn’t that Yellen is a woman but that she doesn’t support a return to the gold standard.

    Not that ranting about fiat money makes them look any less retrograde, of course. I don’t want to downplay the sexism, but I actually became more interested in the total lack of any substantive economic argument in either column. Apparently whoever wrote these things is convinced that the only thing that matters in the entire economy is the price of gold.

    [Bernanke] may reclaim things between now and the end of his tenure in office, but as things now stand his tenure has been a disaster. The value of the dollar, at but a 1,333rd of an ounce of gold, is substantially less than half of the 568th of an ounce of gold it was valued at on the day Mr. Bernanke acceded to the chairmanship of the Fed.


  9. SS,
    Looks like those morons bought a lot of the gold and other precious metals advertised on EVERY Reich-Wing radio talk show – and some on the left, too.

    “Disaster Capitalism” at if finest – Capitalists taking advantage of fearful and hatefilled suckers, saving precious metals for when there’s a disaster.

  10. Sad news to report.

    Doghouse Riley, that great blogger from Indiana, has passed away, at age 59.

    I want to know the whereabouts of W’s toy poodle, Mitch Daniels, at the time of Riley’s demise.

  11. gulag, that’s a good point–the gold bugs make a run on precious metals, causing prices to spike, and then pretend this says something meaningful about the economy.

    It’s funny, too, because if the “strong” dollar they yearn for were to return, anyone who’s invested in gold recently would lose a lot of money.

  12. Interesting. I can see why my last to comments went straight to moderation–anything talking about the ice-pray of old-gay is going to look suspicious to the filters.

  13. These same folk are doing the same thing with ammunition (doomsday capital) right now – buying heavily into a bubble – then complaining vigorously when capitalism works its magic on non-essentials!

    You can’t say they aren’t consistent…

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