Yellen will introduce the first U.S. coin bearing her signature

Yellen will introduce the first U.S. coin bearing her signature

The value of the U.S. dollar has frequently hinged in part on the statements of Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen. On Thursday, the first government-issued currency to have her signature will be printed.

This innovative economist’s capital “J” and “Y” are intertwined, while the remainder of her name is written in a hurried manner, suggesting that handwriting may not have been her first priority.

She earned her reputation as a stoic chair of the Federal Reserve and a shrewd forecaster, and she is now at the forefront of efforts to use economic levers to help stop Russia’s war in Ukraine, to use tax policy to protect the planet from climate change, and to oversee a massive effort to strengthen the beleaguered Internal Revenue Service.

This places her in the heart of local and international affairs, inviting increased levels of criticism and second-guessing from both allies and adversaries. This summer, inflation in the United States reached a 40-year high, stoking fears of an impending economic downturn.

Even as she watches new bills bearing her signature roll out at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing’s Western currency facility in Fort Worth, Texas, Yellen’s celebratory remarks will focus on Biden administration policy achievements rather than her status as the first woman to serve as secretary of the treasury.

Regarding the Ukraine conflict provoked by Russian President Vladimir Putin in February 2014, she stated in prepared remarks, “Together with over 30 countries, we have denied Russia the revenue and resources it requires to wage war.”

As for the home economy, she stated that pandemic relief and a new law to increase semiconductor production had positioned the United States “to capitalize on a wave of economic opportunity for the American people, even in often-overlooked communities.”

Now, two years into Joe Biden’s presidency, Yellen has dispelled concerns that she could be ready to quit the administration early and is preparing for additional economic and political conflicts.

In addition to managing Treasury’s role in the Ukraine conflict, she faces the Herculean task of revitalizing an IRS that is receiving a $80 billion funding boost and enforcing an anti-money laundering effort that requires documenting the beneficial owners of tens of millions of U.S. businesses in an effort to eradicate global corruption.

She holds a position that is becoming increasingly politicized, in which Congress and foreign governments are as influential as the financial markets.

Her Treasury Department is attempting to cripple the Russian economy by capping oil prices, while California Republican Kevin McCarthy questions the extent of U.S. backing for Ukraine. In addition, the Treasury is preparing tens of billions of dollars in tax incentives to combat climate change, which have irked some European partners and proven divisive among Republicans. And the latest U.S. jobs report indicates that the economy may have to experience more pain than anticipated to return inflation to the Fed’s 2% annual objective.

Along the way, Yellen has not shied away from controversy or stating her thoughts on matters that are viewed through a cultural lens by the majority of Americans.

Sen. Tim Scott, a Republican from South Carolina, told Yellen during a congressional hearing in May that she was “harsh” for discussing the favorable economic effects of abortion access for women. Yellen said, “This is not harsh, this is the reality.” She has also said that the U.S. has become the “ideal place” to conceal illegally obtained funds, contradicting the notion that havens for concealed riches exist outside the U.S.

This year, Yellen sparked some controversy with the White House when she diverged somewhat from Vice President Biden’s assertion that his $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package would not lead to inflation. According to Republican legislators, the figure was exorbitant and sparked inflation, based on the research of prominent economists such as Harvard University’s Larry Summers. As a result of disruptions in the global supply chain and an increase in food and energy prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, prices have risen to uncomfortably high levels, heightening the likelihood of a recession.

In May, Yellen said on CNN that she had been incorrect about the future course of inflation. Biden stated that he was informed of the potential risks of inflation while drafting the rescue package, but he told The Associated Press that “the suggestion that it created inflation is absurd.”

On other occasions, Yellen’s forecasts at the Treasury regarding financial markets have proven true.

Her warnings regarding the dangers of an unregulated bitcoin market anticipated the subsequent catastrophe. The crypto markets have experienced at least two significant crashes, dozens of scams and Ponzi schemes, and the overnight creation and loss of hundreds of billions of dollars.

Yellen has also used her position as a high-ranking government official to warn that despite women’s gains in the workplace, a glass ceiling prevents many from ascending to the most senior positions.

Yellen, the only person to ever lead the Treasury Department, the Federal Reserve, and the White House Council of Economic Advisers, continues to receive criticism from members of both parties for not being more dynamic and politically smart at times and for being too forthright at other times.

Anusha Chari, chair of the American Economic Association’s Committee on the Status of Women in the Economics Profession, describes Yellen’s signature on U.S. money as “a monumental achievement, but it also demonstrates how far we still need to go.”

The Treasury Department was established in 1789, and before to Yellen, it was led exclusively by white men.

Chari stated, “Seeing Janet Yellen’s name on currency is something to celebrate, but I wish it weren’t such a special event for women.”

Yellen’s signature will appear alongside that of Lynn Malerba, the first Native American to hold the position of U.S. Treasurer. The bills are anticipated to be handed to the Federal Reserve in December, and they will enter circulation the following year.

Yellen states at this time: “This is neither about me nor about Treasurer Malerba. To me, these notes represent the Treasury Department’s tireless efforts to grow our economy and advance our economic standing abroad.”

 

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