The Ultimate "What Would Janet Yellen Do?" Cheatsheet

Tyler Durden's picture

Pulling from an extensive record of public speeches and FOMC meeting transcripts, Goldman Sachs reviews Fed Chair-nominee Janet Yellen's views on a number of policy-relevant issues. Probably the most differentiating feature of Yellen's public communications relative to other Fed officials has been her focus on "optimal control" considerations in illustrating potential future paths for the fed funds rate, which generally suggest a more accommodative path than current consensus expectations.

Yellen has expressed confidence in the benefits of QE in the past, and has generally not suggested that the costs of QE are substantial enough to warrant any changes to the stance of policy.

She believes that most of the increase in unemployment since the crisis has been cyclical rather than structural in nature, and will be looking for a broad-based improvement in labor market indicators before deciding that a "substantial" improvement has occurred.

FOMC meeting transcripts show that Yellen generally erred on the side of preferring more accommodation during 2006 and 2007 (detailed transcripts are delayed 5 years), but expressed significant concern about inflation during the mid-1990s.

Via Goldman Sachs,

What Does Janet Yellen Think?

On Wednesday, President Obama nominated Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen to replace current Chairman Ben Bernanke when his term expires in January. Broadly, we expect the approach to monetary policy to be very similar under a Yellen Fed to that seen under the Bernanke Fed, and we believe the transition in the Chairmanship will be smooth, assuming Yellen is confirmed as we expect. We are not adjusting our baseline forecasts for monetary policy in any way in light of the Yellen news, which was overwhelmingly anticipated.

Although Yellen has generally erred on the side of not making public remarks in recent quarters, with her last speech occurring in June, there is an extensive historical record of her views while Fed Vice Chair (since October 2010), President of the San Francisco Fed (June 2004 - October 2010) and Fed Governor (August 1994 - February 1997) available to the public. In today's Daily, we provide a brief recap of views Yellen has expressed on topics of current policy interest in past speeches, as well as a short summary of her views on past Fed policy decisions as revealed by detailed FOMC meeting transcripts available through 2007.

Optimal control

Probably the most differentiating feature of Yellen's public communications relative to other Fed officials has been her focus on "optimal control" considerations in illustrating potential future paths for the fed funds rate. She referred to these simulations in three separate speeches, in April, June, and November of 2012. Under such an approach, the FOMC chooses a path for the federal funds rate which best meets its objectives over the next several years as a whole, even if this means committing to a policy that may appear suboptimal at certain points along the way. The latter point is particularly important for the optimal control approach. For example, Yellen stated in the November 2012 speech that if 2% inflation is the Committee's goal, then 2% cannot be viewed as a ceiling. Under optimal control, inflation is allowed to overshoot the Fed's 2% objective as long as it is helpful for bringing unemployment down more quickly.

Our latest replication of Yellen's optimal control rule suggests rate hikes may start in early 2016, somewhat later than the consensus expectation of around 2015Q3. However, Yellen has relatively strongly caveated the optimal control approach in the past, noting that she commonly considers a number of different approaches. For instance, she has in the past referred to more traditional policy rules such as the "balanced approach" Taylor rule?a version of the Taylor rule with a higher weight placed on unemployment. She also noted that she considers it "imprudent" to rely entirely on optimal control exercises, given their sensitivity to modeling assumptions.

The real neutral fed funds rate

The real neutral fed funds rate is defined as the rate that would be consistent with full employment and stable inflation over the medium term. A number of fed officials, including Bernanke and Dudley, have suggested that the real neutral fed funds rate might be lower than its historical average given persistent headwinds to the economic recovery. In other words, the federal funds rate at 0 to 25 basis points might be providing less stimulus to the economy than it would have historically. Yellen agrees with this view, noting in June 2012 that the real neutral rate is probably "well below its historical average." Furthermore, as detailed in the December 2007 FOMC meeting transcript, Yellen partly justified her preference for a 50 basis point rate cut (vs. the 25 basis point cut ultimately adopted) by appealing to the likelihood of a lower real neutral rate.

Forward guidance

Yellen strongly endorsed outcome-based (rather than calendar-based) forward guidance on the path of the fed funds rate, in March of this year and again in April, calling it a "major improvement." Specifically, she views outcome-based guidance as reducing uncertainty about whether changes to calendar-based forward guidance might reflect changes to the Fed's reaction function or the Fed's forecast for the economy. (She has not spoken on this issue more recently, since disadvantages of the unemployment rate-based thresholds have become more apparent in light of the continued drop in labor force participation and greater volatility in market-implied expectations for the date of the first rate hike.)

With respect to the potential for enhancing the forward guidance in the near-term, Yellen noted in March that "the Committee could decide to defer action even after the unemployment rate has declined below 6-1/2 percent if inflation is running and expected to continue at a rate significantly below the Committee's 2 percent objective. Alternatively, the Committee might judge that the unemployment rate significantly understates the actual degree of labor market slack." This remark was very similar to Chairman Bernanke's remark at the last FOMC press conference: "The committee would be unlikely to increase rates if inflation were projected to remain below our 2 percent objective for some time, for example. And in making its assessment, the committee would also take into account additional measures of labor market conditions such as job gains. Thus, the first increases in short-term rates might not occur until the unemployment rate is considerably below 6.5 percent."

We believe that Yellen will be supportive of enhancing the forward guidance in the future, in particular taking into account previously-mentioned considerations on optimal control and the real neutral rate. Furthermore, the uncertain transition in Fed leadership was noted in the September meeting minutes as a factor potentially influencing the Committee's decision not to change forward guidance at that time. If Yellen is confirmed as we expect, this will of course be a non-issue.

The efficacy of QE

Yellen has spoken favorably about the efficacy of quantitative easing in the past, noting for instance in March that a hypothetical $500 billion asset purchase program might be expected to lower the unemployment rate by close to 0.25 percentage point after three years. However, she has not updated her views publically since the tide began to turn decidedly in favor of forward guidance as the "preferred" policy tool, as we have written about recently. At the last post-FOMC press conference, Chairman Bernanke noted that "it's our view that … rate policy is actually the stronger more reliable tool" relative to asset purchases.

On several occasions, Yellen noted the importance of market participant's expectations for the Fed's intended holding period for longer-duration securities in determining the ultimate impact on financial markets and by extension the economy. As a result, it is possible that we could receive more explicit communication on this under a Yellen Fed. Over the past year, Fed officials have been gradually guiding the market away from expecting outright asset sales to be a significant part of the exit strategy.

On the topic of the efficacy of MBS vs. Treasury purchases in stimulating the economy, Yellen has not made as explicit a statement in favor of MBS purchases as some Fed officials have (such as Williams, Stein, and Rosengren). However, she has stated that "research suggests that our purchases of mortgage-backed securities pushed down MBS yields and that MBS yields pass through, with a lag, to mortgage rates," without making any parallel positive statement about Treasury purchases at that time. In addition, in 2009 while noting that she believes the Fed should eventually return to a Treasury-only balance sheet once the economy is back to normal, she stated "I also am convinced that, in the current crisis, we must employ all available tools, and that includes bolstering private credit markets."

Costs of QE

Yellen has generally not viewed potential costs of QE as similar in magnitude to the benefits. While noting the possibility that costs of QE could become more important in the future, Yellen noted in March that there was "no evidence" that the Fed's purchases were negatively impacting market functioning and stated in April that there was "no pervasive evidence" of any financial imbalances caused by the Fed's asset purchases. Since then, MBS market functioning has likely worsened somewhat, however we expect that she would probably maintain an unchanged view on financial imbalances. She similarly downplayed other potential costs of QE, such as the possibility of cancelled remittances to the Treasury Department.

The labor market

The labor market has been a long-standing point of focus for Yellen, who?like many Fed officials?typically describes the Fed missing its mandate in terms of too-low labor utilization rather than too-low inflation. She has on several occasions reiterated her view that "the bulk" of the elevated unemployment rate is due to cyclical rather than structural factors. In February of this year she highlighted several academic papers in support of her view, including work from Lazear & Spletzer, and Rothstein. Furthermore, she has referred to broader measures of labor market underutilization on several occasions, including the "U6" measure of unemployment in March, and the "millions … who left the labor force" in June 2012. Avoiding "hysteresis"?cyclical slack gradually metastasizing into a structurally lower participation rate?has been a key consideration for Yellen in maintaining the highly accommodative stance of monetary policy.

Regarding which indicators Yellen would be watching to discern whether a "substantial" improvement in the outlook for the labor market has occurred?the condition to which the Fed has tied ending QE?she listed five indicators in March: (1) the unemployment rate, (2) payroll job growth, (3) the hiring rate, (4) the quit rate, and (5) the overall rate of economic growth. In our view, only the first of these looks significantly better since the spring of this year, although we expect a pickup in the labor market and broader economic activity into 2014.

Why the recovery has been so slow

In February Yellen laid out her view of why the recovery has been so disappointingly slow to date, despite the accommodative stance of monetary policy. She appealed to five factors holding back growth: (1) US fiscal policy, which while expansionary early in the recovery has become contractionary, (2) idiosyncratic underperformance of the construction sector?normally an important part of the transmission mechanism for monetary policy?in light of the slow recovery from the housing bust, (3) depressed household expectations for income growth, in contrast to past recessions, (4) the European fiscal crisis weighing on US exports, and (5) other potential blockages in the transmission channels for monetary policy in light of post-crisis credit constraints. Indeed in July 2009, Yellen forecast that the recovery would be "painfully slow," citing Reinhart and Rogoff's work on historical recoveries from financial crises.

Past monetary policy decisions

The FOMC releases detailed meeting transcripts?unlike the meeting minutes which do not ascribe views to specific individuals?with a five-year lag. At present, transcripts are available through 2007. Based on our review of the transcripts, we find that Yellen more often than not erred on the side of preferring more monetary accommodation than the Committee consensus, in particular in recent years.


For example, as detailed in Exhibit 2, Yellen favored a more aggressive rate cut at the December 2007 meeting at the start of the recession, and was reluctant to continue hiking rates at the tail end of the 2004 - 2006 tightening cycle. However, this was not always the case. Yellen agreed with the consensus that it was time to begin tightening policy in June 2004, and was notably concerned about inflation during 1996, a point recently highlighted by a number of media sources. At that time there was more of a case to be made that the economy was close to or exceeding full employment, although in the event, inflation remained friendly.

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lolmao500's picture

Install money printing machines on the floor of congress so they can just steal in front of everybody and stop the facade already??

remain calm's picture

We are so fucked. Will someone please tell me that this Yellen Obama duo is just a bad dream.

WayBehind's picture

Sorry brother, unfortunately your nightmare is perfectly real :(

bank guy in Brussels's picture

Gosh what an idiot this Janet Yellen woman is

She thinks US unemployment is just 'cyclical', a temporary blip, things can be fine again soon ... with US worker wages having sunk in real terms for over 35 years now

She thinks the loss of construction jobs is 'idiosyncratic' ... with 18 million empty homes in the USA

She thinks Europe's slowdown is a great 'excuse' ... Europe is saying it is America's slowdown ... and both talk about China's slowdown ... so they obviously have that lie correlated

But she was the one dumb enough to take the job of steering the Titanic that can no longer avoid the iceberg

diesheepledie's picture

She doesn't really think that. She is just telling the Eloi this so they don't panic. The Eloi don't need to worry about unemployment. The only thing that matters is their level of Satisfaction. And that can be adjusted a number of ways. Just make sure they have lots of shiny electric toys and fun things to watch and listen to. If it becomes too difficult to satify them, just make them dumber with more of this ...

All Risk No Reward's picture

>>The Ultimate "What Would Janet Yellen Do?" Cheatsheet<<

Yellen does what she's told.

It must not be felt that these heads of the world's chief central banks were themselves substantive powers in world finance. They were not. Rather, they were the technicians and agents of the dominant investment bankers of their own countries, who had raised them up and were perfectly capable of throwing them down. The substantive financial powers of the world were in the hands of these investment bankers (also called "international" or "merchant" bankers) who remained largely behind the scenes in their own unincorporated private banks. These formed a system of international cooperation and national dominance which was more private, more powerful, and more secret than that of their agents in the central banks. This dominance of investment bankers was based on their control over the flows of credit and investment funds in their own countries and throughout the world. They could dominate the financial and industrial systems of their own countries by their influence over the flow of current funds through bank loans, the discount rate, and the re-discounting of commercial debts; they could dominate governments by their control over current government loans and the play of the international exchanges. Almost all of this power was exercised by the personal influence and prestige of men who had demonstrated their ability in the past to bring off successful financial coupe, to keep their word, to remain cool in a crisis, and to share their winning opportunities with their associates. In this system the Rothschilds had been preeminent during much of the nineteenth century, but, at the end of that century, they were being replaced by J. P. Morgan whose central office was in New York, although it was always operated as if it were in London (where it had, indeed, originated as George Peabody and Company in 1838).
~Carroll Quigley, World Renown Georgetown Historian and Presidential Mentor, Tragedy and Hope (based on complete access to Council on Foreign Relations internal documents)

Disenchanted's picture

re: "In this system the Rothschilds had been preeminent during much of the nineteenth century, but, at the end of that century, they were being replaced by J. P. Morgan whose central office was in New York, although it was always operated as if it were in London (where it had, indeed, originated as George Peabody and Company in 1838)." [~ Quigley]


In other words, the Rothschilds began completely hiding behind fronts, agents(also agenturs- "a business that serves other businesses"), blind trusts and foundations.

Where else have I seen the word "agentur" used besides in the Protocols of Sion? 


"The Third World War must be fomented by taking advantage of the differences caused by the "agentur" of the "Illuminati" between the political Zionists and the leaders of Islamic World. The war must be conducted in such a way that Islam [the Moslem Arabic World] and political Zionism [the State of Israel] mutually destroy each other. Meanwhile the other nations, once more divided on this issue will be constrained to fight to the point of complete physical, moral, spiritual and economical exhaustion…We shall unleash the Nihilists and the atheists, and we shall provoke a formidable social cataclysm which in all its horror will show clearly to the nations the effect of absolute atheism, origin of savagery and of the most bloody turmoil. Then everywhere, the citizens, obliged to defend themselves against the world minority of revolutionaries, will exterminate those destroyers of civilization, and the multitude, disillusioned with Christianity, whose deistic spirits will from that moment be without compass or direction, anxious for an ideal, but without knowing where to render its adoration, will receive the true light through the universal manifestation of the pure doctrine of Lucifer, brought finally out in the public view. This manifestation will result from the general reactionary movement which will follow the destruction of Christianity and atheism, both conquered and exterminated at the same time." ~ Albert Pike in a letter to Giusseppe Mazzini August 15, 1871


Albert Pike and the Rothschilds:


Albert Pike and Judah Benjamin needed a secret society in order to meet and communicate their plans to foster a civil war in the United States and to establish the House of Rothschild—Illuminati’s plan to establish a (link to new world order diagram)new world order control over the United States Republic. Judah Benjamin’s mentor was John Slidell, whose niece married August Belmont connected to the Rothschild’s bank. Judah Benjamin’s connection to John Slidell further connected Benjamin to European banking in order to fund the Confederacy. It should be noted that after the United States Civil War, Judah P. Benjamin fled to England, and was the only member of the Confederacy never to return to the United States. Judah Benjamin became legal advisor to Queen Victoria. Both Louisiana Senator John Slidell and Judah P. Benjamin belonged to both the Boston and Union clubs of New Orleans. However, these two clubs did not provide the secrecy needed to communicate. It is for this reason Albert Pike, Judah Benjamin, and John Slidell founded the Mystick Krewe of Comus.

........Both Albert Pike and Judah P. Benjamin were secret Kings of the Mystic Krewe of Comus. Both Albert Pike and Judah Benjamin participated directly in the killing of the United States President Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln became a threat to the House of Rothschild when he Abraham Lincoln began having the United States government print its own greenback currency. It should be noted that Albert Pike after the Civil War was indicted and sent to prison for treason by the United States government. After Abraham Lincoln’s assassination, Andrew Johnson Vice President became the United States President and pardoned Albert Pike. Albert Pike awarded Andrew Johnson for this pardon the thirty-third degree rite of passage.



Quotes above from: Albert Pike


I don't think Carroll Quigley let everything out of the bag...OR... he was unaware himself how deep the rabbit hole went. As an aside I'm wondering if Pike had some input into those infamous Protocols...

All Risk No Reward's picture

I agree that Quigley didn't spill all the beans, for whatever reason, but the beans he did spill ought to be household knowledge.  Thanks, Bill Clinton, for outing this guy and, eventually, his book, to many, many people who would not of otherwise known about him or his writings.

Rogue Trooper's picture

Sure it's easy now to say "she was the perfect choice" but that was not always the case.

Sources tell me that she was, in reality, nothing more that a 53 year veteran from the FED archives Library.  Now and again she brought the tea and biscuits into the latest FOMC meeting before taking the minutes down to the basement for shelving.

Some say it was Greenspan who actually saw her obvious potential early on.  Later she stated to just hang around and then spontaneously began to provide startling revelatory insights on the ongoing deliberations at that time.  It was inevitable that she would become a full member of the committee.

The rest, as they say, is now history.


hedgeless_horseman's picture




The same as Bernanke.

Print like a man, but lie like a woman.

lolmao500's picture

And if you oppose her money printing, you obviously hate women. And if you're a woman, then you obviously are self-hating...

Eh, works for the Israel and Obama...

john39's picture

what will yellen do? exactly what the FED owners tell her to do.  nothing more, nothing less.

ebworthen's picture

If lying were judged on the Richter scale my Ex.-Wife was a 10.0.

Fred Hayek's picture

If Janet Yellen was not a member of the Fed, she could be a vet specializing in the treatment of horses.

The answer to all problems is to print.

Horse Vet
The answer to all problems is to shoot the horse.

Whoa Dammit's picture

She's more like the emcee in the movie "They Shot Horses Don't They?" The emcee runs a Depression era dance marathon, where the winner is supposed to  receive a large cash prize. But in reality,the winner would get next to nothing after hidden fees and expenses are deducted from the prize. 

She's just there to keep the rest of us dancin'.

Yen Cross's picture

Tyler I realize you don't take sides. That my fellow  Z/Hers exlemplifies the reason we " band together" on zero hedge/  bitchez...

involuntarilybirthed's picture

Yellen's comments are highbrow gibberish.  They impress themselves and like kind with it.

ebworthen's picture

What would Janet Yellen do?  (WWJYD?):


  1. Ctrl-P
  2. Ctrl-P
  3. Ctrl-P
  4. More QE
  5. Ctrl-P
  6. Ctrl-P
  7. Ctrl-P
  8. Advise a bailout
  9. Ctrl-P
  10. Ctrl-P
  11. Ctrl-P
  12. ...etc. ad infinitum, etc....

Scooby Doo and Shaggy would at least pause once or twice in that list to have a sandwich.

GetZeeGold's picture



Throw a Crazy Ivan Taper in there for good measure.


Ok....that's enough.....put printers back on full.

asteroids's picture

What happens when a black swan event happens and the market falls 25% or so within a few weeks. How well does your "Optimal Control" work then? No fear or humility. You should be very nervous of this woman.

Incubus's picture

these computers are black swan resistant.


After the apocalypse and humanity is long gone, the algos will still be going.


Nigga ain't got time fo no end of the world!

Yen Cross's picture

 SSDD Prepare accordingly. OLD Yellen will re-write the definition of insanity.

flacon's picture

It's that the Yellen logo in your profile pic?

Yen Cross's picture

Do you have a bone to pick  wiith me?

Incubus's picture

kind of looks like a Y Mobile logo.



magne13's picture

Yes we all know Janet Yeltsin is just more of the same status quo, what are we looking for a chrisine lagarde look at like, for god sakes this effing country.  Why do we insist on these academic shit heads who have never worked in a real business in their life.  when are the billions of poor going to realize that only about 4oo people control all this...toppling these folks would be much easier today than the days of charging the castle

layman_please's picture

exactly, academics and it's no coincidence as it's the best environment to manipulate public opinion. pick a field and check who's financing their research. most renowned academics thank openly in their publications rockefeller, carnegie etc foundations who's grants make their research possible, they don't even bother to hide that fact. and considering vast amount of different bullshit universities produce nowadays, they don't even have to place an order, they just pick the ones that suit their agenda. and with a little push from the media (that they control) and world has a new school of thought to venerate. 

rosiescenario's picture

Since neither gold nor silver have gone up since this announcement about her, it is obvious to everyone (excepting Bart) that the gold and silver markets are being manipulated.

max2205's picture

If I have to listen to a female Jewish Brooklyn accent for the next 8 hears I am going to go crazy

whoopsing's picture

Has anyone else noticed that we had a second general in command of  ICBMs shitcanned this week ? ...Hmmm

( somewhat off topic )

conspicio's picture

Yes, I noticed it. I am assuming all senior staff expressing or adhering to overt belief in a Christian faith are being expunged. The alleged misbehavior did not involve sexual misconduct. Given that not being full on "rainbow unicorn" for the new gay policies can get you canned, among other dalliances, it would not be surprising at all if he expressed something the thought police deem unacceptable for one so close to the trigger.

Peachfuzz's picture

Not off topic at all considering this will be the enforcing arm for dollar reserve status as per this Dr. P.C.R. article. Scary shit if you ask me, good thing I died 3/11/11.

Yen Cross's picture

My Mother called me earlier. Her first "gripe" was about the cost of bacon. long xag & canned goods. / Bitchez

conspicio's picture

Tylers - Let's not forget WWGAD?

Prof. Akerlof and Yellen are frequent collaborators, ahem, in the profession, and he's the only one in the house with the Nobel. Unless he has an unfortunate accident in the near future, I'd expect him to remain a collaborator of the unofficial pillow talk sort. Of course, he is of the similar cloth, so it's a twofer. Mazeltov!

Clowns on Acid's picture

Just one more step in the Bolsheivik attempted, takeover.

e_goldstein's picture

Still waiting for an Old Yellen Banzai spoof

(..."he was my dog, I'll do it").

All Out Of Bubblegum's picture

Janet's Aunt Helen married into the Mellon family. She was known as Helen Yellen-Mellon.

ILikeBoats's picture

IOW, SSDD... Print to Infinity , give cash and prizes to the politically-connected, use inflation to steal from the middle class and give to Wall Street, etc. etc.

Meanwhile, lie about it, try to convince others that you care about stability etc. while in reality you are noiselessly enabling the theft of everything in America.

q99x2's picture

That witch is going to print more dollars than a spider lays eggs.

HardlyZero's picture

Oh, I get it now.  Yellen is an economic fluffer, and between her and Hillary and Lay-Guard they will inflate any party spoke-sman.   Yellen will be the oil in the can, the genie in the bottle.   Can't wait for the viddy.

Yancey Ward's picture

Here is a video of Yellen's top assistant being trained to hit CtrlP:

Yancey Ward's picture

Yeah, I know, he keeps hitting the space bar, but you have to cut him some slack, he got his econ PhD from Princeton.

Zer0head's picture

holy fck

yar yar binks aka marble mouth yellen

sees unemployment as cyclical??? WTF

"missa see da evidence as consistent with da view da da increase in unemployment since da great recession has been large cyclical and no structural"
Xandrino's picture

They are doing this by design, parasite the country. When it has nothing left, pull the plug. The MO is always the same.


Duude's picture

Janet will monitor the effects of QE over time like Barack Obama monitors the effects of adding another trillion to the national debt.

Clowns on Acid's picture

What would Finance Minister Gono do? Thats what Yellen will do.

Youri Carma's picture

Like said QE flood gates will be fully opened by Yellen.

btw I was also the one who predicted it would be Yellen even before her name was named in the MSM.

Jim Rickards was the first to point this out and this proved to be accurate.