Chart of the Day: For a Girl, Janet Yellen is Pretty Good With Numbers


Compare and contrast. Here is the Wall Street Journal editorial page today:

As an economist with long experience at the Fed, she doesn’t lack for professional credentials. But her cause has been taken up by the liberal diversity police as a gender issue because she’d be the first female Fed chairman….That led our friends at the New York Sun to wonder if they had somehow missed the creation of “the female dollar” given that they thought the Fed’s main task is to preserve the value of the currency.

Golly. According to the Journal’s editorial board, it would be little more than pure gender pandering if Yellen were somehow chosen to lead the Fed. Let’s see what the Journal’s actual reporters have to say about that:

Predicting the direction of the U.S. economy with precision is impossible. But the Fed must forecast growth, inflation and unemployment to guide its decisions on interest rates….The Wall Street Journal examined more than 700 predictions made between 2009 and 2012 in speeches and congressional testimony by 14 Fed policy makers—and scored the predictions on growth, jobs and inflation. The most accurate forecasts overall came from Ms. Yellen, now the Fed’s vice chair.

The Fed can’t do its job unless it has a clear view of what direction the economy is heading, and Yellen has the best track record on that score—better than the current chair, Ben Bernanke, as the chart below shows, and way better than the hard-money cranks the Journal seems to like so much. She’s also enormously well qualified on practically every other measure. The fact that the smarmy frat boys at the Sun and Journal editorial pages are in such a lather over the fact that breaking the glass ceiling at the Fed is also a point in her favor tells you everything you need to know about how they view the world.

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It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

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We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

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Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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