The Anti-Yellen Campaign Has Begun

A blog about business and economics.
Oct. 10 2013 4:31 PM

The Anti-Yellen Campaigning Has Begun

The common assumption is that since Janet Yellen is well-qualified and has been nominated to serve as Federal Reserve chair that she will, in fact, serve as Federal Reserve chair. That's in part because we haven't ever really had a confirmation fight for the Fed gig. But I don't think she'll get in without a fight. The reconfirmation of Ben Bernanke for a second term by a 70-30 vote was the weakest showing of any Fed nominee ever. And that was a Democratic president reappointing a Republican to a job he already held, under circumstances where there was no real public anti-Bernanke organizing.

By contrast, a conservative group called American Principles in Action is already organizing against Yellen:

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Their argument is basically just so much derp. Yellen stands accused of being some kind of madcap inflationista for thinking that the Federal Reserve should pursue its legal mandate to give weight to both price stability and employment maximization in its decision-making. There is absolutely nothing in any way unusual about her views on this. Congress could, if it wanted to, change the Fed's legal mandate (though I think that would be a bad idea) but the idea of condemning a veteran Fed official for a long record of believing that Fed officials ought to behave in the way that they are legally required to behave is nutty.

That said, nutty imperatives have a way of gaining prominence on the right. Organizing against Yellen is a no-brainer for conservative groups eager to engage in a little grassroots fundraising. Talk radio episodes and Fox segments about the evils of Yellen are sure to be better for ratings than segments defending her. And then once it becomes defined that the True Conservative stance is to vote no on Yellen, who's going to want to stand against that?

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

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