Friday, February 23

Hay Yellen ‘for a while’: Treasury secretary rules out leaving office

Janet Yellen, President Joe Biden’s ‘surprise’ pick as treasury secretary following his 2020 election victory, claimed there is too much unfinished business how to think about leaving office after just over a year on the job.

The greatest victory of his tenure, a historic global deal on corporate tax which Yellen designed through careful international diplomacy, remains incomplete and has not yet been approved by the United States Congress.

In addition, the social investment package Build Back Better of the administration is also in legislative limbo. Meanwhile, high inflation is spoiling assessments of the $1.9 trillion relief bill enacted last March.

“We still have a great deal of important work to do,” Yellen, 75, said last week in a statement to Bloomberg News after an extensive interview that marked his first year in office. “I have no plans to leave Treasury any time soon.”

After more than 15 years at the Fed, culminating in her presidency ending in 2018, Yellen brought an authoritative voice to the Biden team’s initial call to “go big” on fiscal stimulus. By assuring Democrats that low interest rates gave them more room to spread federal spending, he provided an economic justification for White House negotiations on Capitol Hill.

“We were trying to take care of people so they can get through the pandemic,” he said in the interview on Wednesday. “I have to say that I am very satisfied with the results.”

By many measures, the American Bailout Plan, which delivered $1.9 trillion to households, businesses and states, was a success. Millions of Americans have returned to work, the economy has rebounded strongly and wage increases have surged as employers struggled to attract workers.

Yellen highlighted that poverty indicators have fallen; evictions are below pre-pandemic levels, and the massive lines seen at food banks a year ago have disappeared.

“This is an extraordinary achievement,” he stressed.

Yet another key piece of data has gone in an unwelcome direction: After Yellen forecast in June that inflation would slow in the second half to around 3 percent, it soared to a four-decade high in December, reaching 7 percent and overwhelming wage gains. L worst: it is expected that rise even more in January data which will be published next Thursday.