Saturday, January 18, 2014

Warning Total Puff Piece: My Meeting With Janet Yellen

by Cherno Jobatey, Editorial Director, HuffPost Deutschland

It's not easy to get to a meeting with Janet Yellen in Washington. First you have to get past a number of hurdles as she he is heavily guarded by men with thick arms, thicker body armor and even thicker machine guns. Then you've made it into the polished corridors of the Fed's headquarters, but if you're a visitor, you'll never be alone because there is always someone to accompany you every step of the way.

Wearing a large yellow name tag on your jacket identifies you to everyone as a visitor from far away. In the Fed's corridors visitors walk -- actually you stride -- through cavernous rooms that are dimly lit, giving it the feel of a French castle. The sound of my sneakers on the fancy floors of the Fed has somehow disappeared, automatically adapting to the atmosphere of the building which seems to have a different center of gravity. It's just hard to imagine any kind of squeak coming from my rubber soles on these majestic floors.

And then she is in front of me. She flashes a friendly smile and says: "Hi, I'm Janet Yellen." It brings me back to reality in milliseconds.

Janet Yellen exudes an improbable coziness. You might think she is a small woman but in person she is larger than you would have thought. Her friendly face is full of laugh lines. No, this is not the number-crunching economist that you might expect to see in the leadership of the world's most important and powerful central banks. The label "dove" somehow doesn't feel like it's the right description for Janet Yellen even if it's only a term to describe her fiscal policies. "Doves" are the advocates of loose monetary policy and ardently believe that low-interest rates and cheap central bank money will stimulate the economy and reduce unemployment.

Today she is wearing a dark green suit with a plain gold chain. On the day I met Janet Yellen she was wearing a dark green suit with a simple gold chain. Her short white hair, seasoned with a touch of pixie, nicely accentuates her round face as well as her smile. Her whole manner is anything but obtrusive. She wouldn't stand out in a supermarket checkout line. Yet at an age when many people are counting the days to retirement or already there, Yellen is reaching the pinnacle of her career. And she shows it. Yellen radiates an incredible sense of momentum and vitality.

If you can stand it, read the rest here.


  1. Read the rest? I could barely make it past the second paragraph! Laugh lines? Bigger than life?

    Gag me with a quarter.

  2. "As I walked down the marble corridor, with its exquisitely inlaid stone and metal, it was difficult to believe that, of the stone masons who carved this beautiful interior, not a one was still alive and yet, it was true. They had all been murdered. I barely had time to catch my breath when the heavily armed soldiers directed me through a door. I had to stop, take a moment and collect my thoughts and prepare myself to become fully aware of what I was seeing.

    "There, in front of me, were the two greatest mass murderers of the twentieth century. Stalin, in an almost regal brownish-green military coat, motioned me towards the chair that had been positioned for me. The giant paintings, the posters and all that the apparatus of the State could create could not cast a greater shadow over me as this man did, this man in front of me.

    "Next to him was the Great Helmsman himself, a veritable god in the Land of One Billion Worshipers. Mao was always portrayed as one who wore simple clothes and his gray suit only magnified the splendor that this savvy ruler would exude.

    The translator told me, "Comrade Stalin shares his warmth to all peace loving peoples and is glad that he could share this sentiment with you. Comrade Stalin would like to know if you were familiar with the reporter Walter Duranty. Comrade Stalin and the Chairman were discussing him as you entered. You have a great deal in common with Mr. Duranty.."

    I was awestruck. I..."

  3. Lol. He mentions her gold chain. Twice.

  4. Wow, this author sounds like such a tool.

  5. Sure would have been nice if the guy asked about Germany's gold that the Fed allegedly possesses.