Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Janet Yellen Takes the Alan Greenspan Approach to Congressional Testimomny

Read in to what she says anyway you like. Take your pick:

WSJ Headline: Fed Chief Janet Yellen: Rate Increases Draw Nearer as Economy Strengthens

NYT Headline: Janet Yellen Says Fed Is in No Hurry to Raise Rates

MarketWatch Headline: Yellen readies the markets for a less-patient Fed


  1. She drink all that water, she gonna need a potty break.

    1. FRB banksters would really help out the economy if they spent 95% of their time in the bathroom instead of "working" at that insidious building.

  2. I love how open and honest the government is! That is a sure sign they have our best interest in mind when considering their policies.

  3. Yellen Defies Congress, Defends Greenspanian General Counsel Scott Alvarez After Elizabeth Warren Grilling

    As we noted then:

    Yellen has said she wants to make financial stability as important a priority of the Fed as monetary policy. That means, among other things, being willing to regulate banks. Scott Alvarez is too deeply invested in an out-of-date world view to carry that vision forward. If Yellen intends to live up to her word, Alvarez has to go.

    As you’ll see in the must-watch video below, Warren cuts Yellen absolutely no slack, refusing to allow Yellen to temporize to evade Warren’s questions. She first brings up Alvarez’s failure to brief Warren and Elijah Cummings as requested last year on an apparent Fed failure to investigate a leak of FOMC information that moved markets. She then moves into a no-win incident from the perspective of the Fed, of Alvarez dissing key sections of Dodd Frank at a recent American Bankers Association conference and stating that they needed to be redone.

    It is hard to emphasize strongly enough how serious those remarks were. They amounted to two things: first, the professedly-apolitical Fed throwing its weight in favor of banks, against the public interest, and second, the Federal Reserve opposing the law of the land. The latter is a clear message to financial firms that they can ignore the provisions of Dodd Frank that Alvarez discussed (and potentially others) safe in the knowledge that the Fed has their back.

    As you see, Yellen appears to capitulate before the onslaught of Warren’s questions, stating that she and and Fed were “not seeking to alter Dodd Frank at this time…we’re not seeking to change the law.” And Warren’s closing remarks are a clear message to Yellen that she had better leash and collar Alvarez.

    So what did Yellen do? The very same day, she effectively repudiated her Congressional testimony and threw her weight behind Alvarez. From American Banker (hat tip Michael Hudson):

    After the hearing, Yellen later expressed faith in Alvarez in a written statement. “My colleagues and I depend, with confidence, on Scott Alvarez’ expert advice and counsel,” Yellen said. “He is a dedicated public servant who is committed to thoughtful public policy.”

    Understand what this amounts to. By immediately issuing a statement supporting Alvarez, Yellen is sanctioning his pro-bank, anti-Dodd Frank conduct.

    Alvarez helped draft the law formally eliminating Glass Steagall, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. He alludes to helping Citigroup merge with Travelers, which prompted the statutory shift. What’s more interesting than what he did is how he sees his actions today. After all, a lot of people in hindsight acknowledge they erred. Not Alvarez. He argues that the repeal of Glass-Steagall had nothing to do with the crisis.

    Alvarez is completely unapologetic about the Federal Reserve refusing to use its authority to stop false and deceptive practices in the mortgage market prior to the crisis. He doesn’t mention the linkages of mortgage-backed securities to the financial system via derivatives, the gaming of the capital markets, or problems with banker compensation that reward short-term gains while socializing losses. Alvarez’s arguments reflect a pure and unadulterated deregulatory mindset bequeathed to the central bank by Alan Greenspan.