Tags: Fed | chairman | Yellen | Summers

WSJ: Race for Fed Chairman Narrows to Yellen, Summers

Thursday, 25 Jul 2013 12:51 PM

By Dan Weil

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The contest for who will follow Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve chairman appears to have boiled down to Janet Yellen and Lawrence Summers, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Until recently, Yellen, now Fed vice chairwoman, seemed to be the clear favorite.

"But in the past couple of weeks it has become clear that in Mr. Obama's White House, Mr. Summers, [a former top economic adviser to the president], is seen as a serious rival, based on comments from current and former administration officials," The Journal states.

Editor's Note:
Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

Bernanke is expected to retire when his term ends Jan. 31, and Obama would then appoint the successor.

Summers has the advantage of a close relationship with the president and his advisers. Since leaving the administration in late 2010, the Harvard professor has visited the White House at least 13 times, according to visitor records cited by The Journal.

But Yellen has the advantage of being a Fed insider, knowing the practicalities of implementing central bank policy. And she may have stronger diplomatic skills, which can be necessary for forging consensus at the Fed, than Summers does.

It's unlikely Fed policy would change much under either of the two economists, with both seen committed to cutting unemployment while keep inflation low.

Former FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair argues that Yellen should be a shoo-in.

"Unlike Larry Summers [who served in the Clinton administration Treasury Department], ... she was not part of the deregulatory cabal that got us into the 2008 financial crisis," Bair writes in Fortune.

"In fact, she had a solid record as a bank regulator at the San Francisco Fed and was one of the few in the Fed system to sound the alarm on the risks of subprime mortgages in 2007."

Editor's Note: Economist Unapologetically Calls Out Bernanke, Obama for Mishandling Economy. See What They Did

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