Elizabeth Warren knows who she’d pick to replace Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. Unfortunately her front-runner isn’t actually in the running.
“Paul Volcker,” the Massachusetts Senator responded when asked by Bloomberg TV who she’d pick to run the Fed if Bernanke leaves. “I love him.”
As Warren acknowledged, Volcker, who is 85 years old and a former Fed chairman, isn’t on the shortlist of candidates to replace Bernanke, who many expect will leave his post in January when his term expires. More likely replacements include Janet Yellen, the current vice Fed chair; Roger Ferguson, a former vice chairman of the Fed; and former Treasury Secretaries Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner.
Warren didn’t offer any reasons for her endorsement of Volcker beyond saying, “I think he’s terrific,” but it’s likely his credentials may have something to do with it. Volcker, who served as Fed chairman under presidents Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, is largely credited with taming runaway inflation during his tenure.
He also crafted one of the centerpieces of the 2010 Dodd Frank financial reform law -- an eponymous rule that aims to curb banks’ risky bets with their own money. Wall Street lobbyists have whittled down the law some and House Republicans sought to repeal the Volcker rule earlier this year.
For her part, Warren has made her career largely on being a vocal critic of Wall Street. She recently introduced a bill along with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others aimed at reigning in risk at big banks.
As for those on the Fed chair shortlist, Warren offered praise for Yellen, who would be the first woman to lead the Fed. “She’s not just the first woman, she’s a smart person that would be in that position,” Warren said.
The senator also described Summers as “very smart,” though when asked if the Senate would confirm Summers, Obama’s first National Economic Council director and a somewhat controversial figure, Warren said “I don’t know.” As a member of the Senate Banking committee, Warren will have a say on Bernanke’s successor if he leaves his post.