Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary Sets Up Biden to Go Big on Stimulus

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  • Bloomberg Quicktake: Now published this video item, entitled “Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary Sets Up Biden to Go Big on Stimulus” – below is their description.

    President-elect Joe Biden’s selection of Janet Yellen as Treasury secretary signals that he plans to act aggressively to revive the world’s biggest economy, putting a former Federal Reserve chair who’s not shied away from stimulus at the helm of his economic policy. With Yellen in charge, Biden’s Treasury department will be prepared to join Fed Chairman Jerome Powell’s policy of lower-for-longer interest rates with extended, expansionary government spending. While her reported pick was applauded both on Wall Street and in much of official Washington — even by some of President Donald Trump’s allies — Yellen is sure to be tested in her Senate confirmation hearings. Conservatives will probe her views on stimulus spending, as well her less confrontational position toward China, a nation many Republicans view as an economic adversary. A front-row witness to the increasingly partisan battles over government spending in Washington over the past quarter-century, Yellen now stands to become a combatant for the first time in her career. The Fed is a consensus-based institution, where colleagues typically use polite, diplomatic language when they disagree. In her new job, Yellen can expect GOP lawmakers to pull no punches in assailing the large-scale coronavirus relief package Biden promises, while any concessions to the opposition are sure to draw broadsides from the liberal wing of her own party. Yellen lacks experience in hammering out legislation with Congress, and she also didn’t perform anywhere near the outreach to lawmakers when she was Fed chair that Powell has chalked up, a hole in her resume that could create a learning curve next year. Biden’s plans to nominate her, confirmed by people familiar with the matter, are expected to culminate in an announcement next week. Her first step is expected to be seeking unity between the Fed and Treasury, the two institutions at the front lines of any economic crisis. Trump’s Treasury secretary, Steven Mnuchin, last week opened a rift between the agencies when he declined to extend several crisis-lending programs at the Fed created by the Cares Act, the stimulus signed into law earlier this year. The Fed said it opposed ending the programs but agreed to return hundreds of billions of dollars in backstop money to Treasury, where Mnuchin wants Congress to put it to what he considers better uses. Yellen is seen reversing that move early next year, after the Biden campaign criticized Mnuchin’s decision. “Instead of a dissonance and the break we’ve seen recently between Treasury and the Fed, this is a unified front, but a unified front in the right direction,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. “We need this.” The leaders of the two institutions have years of shared working history between them, which could smooth their efforts to support the fragile recovery from the pandemic. Powell served on the Fed board as governor when Yellen was chair, then took over for her when Trump tapped him for the Fed’s top job. A meticulous macroeconomist who’s specialized in the study of the labor market, the 74-year-old Yellen recently said the Fed’s policy of lower-for-longer interest rates should coincide with greater government spending. “While the pandemic is still seriously affecting the economy we need to continue extraordinary fiscal support, but even beyond that I think it will be necessary,” Yellen said Oct. 19 on Bloomberg Television. “We can afford to have more debt,” she added, because interest rates will probably be low “for many years to come.” Before she can turn to mending relations with the Fed and negotiating stimulus, though, Yellen can expect Republican criticism for her past comments on Chinese trade policy. Biden returns to the federal government with a Congress far more antagonistic to China than four years ago and united in its desire to punish Beijing for unfair trade practices. Subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2TwO8Gm Bloomberg Quicktake brings you live global news and original shows spanning business, technology, politics and culture. Make sense of the stories changing your business and your world. To watch complete coverage on Bloomberg Quicktake 24/7, visit http://www.bloomberg.com/qt/live, or watch on Apple TV, Roku, Samsung Smart TV, Fire TV and Android TV on the Bloomberg app. Have a story to tell? Fill out this survey for a chance to have it featured on Bloomberg Quicktake: https://cor.us/surveys/27AF30 Connect with us on… YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/Bloomberg Breaking News on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/c/BloombergQuickTakeNews Twitter: https://twitter.com/quicktake Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/quicktake Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/quicktake

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