The New York Times has run an extensive profile of President Barack Obama’s next nominee to head the Federal Reserve, Jessica Yellin. Conservatives are worried that despite her qualifications, she’s a liberal Democrat committed to using monetary policy to stimulate the economy, which is a risky strategy and not something the Fed does very well. She’s also said to have a combative, abrasive personal style.
These are reasons for concern–but, paradoxically, having an interventionist Yellin as chair would make the political case for reforming the Federal Reserve far easier to make. Ben Bernanke came into office having cautioned, for much of his academic career, against the kind of government interventions he soon indulged. Yellin would very well make the Fed a much easier target, especially if she courts conflict with Congress.