WASHINGTON -- Following President Barack Obama's failed effort to
install his former economic adviser Larry Summers as Federal Reserve
chairman, Janet Yellen, the central bank's vice chair, has emerged as the frontrunner
to succeed Ben Bernanke in the Fed's top spot. Sen. Elizabeth Warren
(D-Mass.) and dozens of other Democrats in both the House and Senate
have endorsed Yellen to be the next Fed Chair.
While supporting Yellen has become a cause célèbre for progressives
opposed to Summers' regulatory hostilities, Yellen supported a host of
economic policies during the Clinton era that have since become broadly
unpopular. She backed the repeal of the landmark Glass-Steagall bank
reform and she supported the 1993 North American Free Trade Agreement.
She also pressured the government to develop a new statistical metric
intended to lower payments to senior citizens on Social Security.
These policies all enjoyed substantial support among economists
during the 1990s, although many of those who endorsed them at the time
have since recanted or criticized their implementation.
Yellen's reputation as a more consumer-friendly economist than
Summers rests largely on her tenure as president of the San Francisco
Federal Reserve during the Bush years, when she identified the emerging
housing bubble and called for deploying stronger regulation to limit its