Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.) said on Monday that he would support Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen as the board's next chair, making him the first Republican senator to publicly come out and back her.
Roberts made his comments in Wichita at the Kansas Independent Oil and Gas Association annual meeting. According to the Wichita Eagle, "Roberts said he supports Janet Yellen to replace Ben Bernanke when his term as chairman of the Federal Reserve expires at the end of January."
The conservative senator strongly criticized former chief White House economic adviser Larry Summers, who is reportedly one of the frontrunners for the nomination.
"I wouldn't want Larry Summers to mow my yard," Roberts said. "He's terribly controversial and brusque and I don't think he works well with either side of the aisle, quite frankly."
Roberts also said he had some reservations about Yellen, despite his support for her.
“She's very solid in how she approaches fiscal matters, the economy and the Fed, but you need a very strong leader and I'm not sure she has that capability,” he added.
Roberts' office did not immediately return a request for additional comment. His show of support for Yellen adds to the strong backing she has already received from a number of Democratic senators and Democratic women in the House.
More than 30 law and economics professors sent President Barack Obama a letter on Monday urging him to choose Yellen.
Long before becoming Obama's chief economic adviser, Summers served in the Clinton administration, first as a protege of Treasury Secretary Bob Rubin and then as Treasury secretary himself, and helped lead the effort to deregulate Wall Street. Many Yellen supporters are worried that Summers would follow in the footsteps of his mentor and dial back the Fed's efforts to lower unemployment in order to appease the bond market. Yellen, meanwhile, argues that protecting bondholders is not the Fed's only job.
In a private meeting with House Democrats last month, Obama rose to Summers' defense when lawmakers began criticizing his potential nomination.
But in an Aug. 9 press conference, Obama denied that Summers had any sort of "inside track" to the nomination.
"I have a range of outstanding candidates," said Obama. "You've mentioned two of them ... and they're both terrific people. I think the perception that Mr. Summers might have an inside track simply had to do with a bunch of attacks that I was hearing on Mr. Summers preemptively, which is sort of a standard Washington exercise that I don't like ... So I tend to defend folks who I think have done a good job and don't deserve attacks."
"My main criteria for the Fed Reserve chairman is somebody who understands they've got a dual mandate," he added. "A critical part of the job is making sure that we keep inflation in check, that our monetary policy is sound, that the dollar is sound. Those are all critical components of the job ... But the other mandate is full employment. And right now, if you look at the biggest challenges we have, the challenge is not inflation; the challenge is we've still got too many people out of work, too many long-term unemployed, too much slack in the economy, and we're not growing as fast as we should."
UPDATE: 8/21/13 -- In a follow-up interview with Politico, Roberts clarified that he would not be voting for Yellen even though he preferred her to Summers. Read more here.
Also on HuffPost:
Paul Ryan: QE2 Risks Inflation
Back in 2010, Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan explained that the Federal Reserves plan to purchase $600 billion worth of securities -- known as QE2 -- was little more than "sugar-high economics" that <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-14/romney-ryan-see-fed-qe-as-inflation-risk-amid-low-prices.html" target="_hplink">risked rising inflation and weakening the dollar</a>. But instead the opposite took place. According to Bloomberg: <blockquote>"Since that prediction by Ryan, who has been chosen by presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to be his running mate, the dollar has risen against major currencies and inflation has stayed below the Fed's goal of 2 percent."</blockquote>
Christina Romer: Unemployment Will Remain Below 8%
In early January of 2009, Christina Romer, economic adviser to then President-elect Barack Obama, made a prediction: massive government stimulus on the order that would eventually be passed by Congress would keep unemployment below 8 percent, reports <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/10/AR2009011001999.html" target="_hplink"><em>The Washington Post</em></a>. Without it, unemployment could reach as high as 9 percent. In July 2012, unemployment edged up to <a href="www.bls.gov" target="_hplink">8.3 percent</a>. It has not gone below 8 percent since <a href="http://www.google.com/publicdata/explore?ds=z1ebjpgk2654c1_&met_y=unemployment_rate&idim=country:US&fdim_y=seasonality:S&dl=en&hl=en&q=us+unemployment+rate#!ctype=l&strail=false&bcs=d&nselm=h&met_y=unemployment_rate&fdim_y=seasonality:S&scale_y=lin&ind_y=false&rdim=country&idim=country:US&ifdim=country&tstart=984805200000&tend=1337227200000&hl=en_US&dl=en&ind=false" target="_hplink">January 2009</a>.
Jim Cramer: Obamacare Will Topple The Stock Market
On <a href="http://mediamatters.org/blog/2010/03/22/dow-finishes-up-following-health-care-vote-pagi/162074" target="_hplink">March 18, 2010</a>, Jim Kramer stated on Larry Kudlow's program that Obamacare would tank the stock market. The reform package was, in his words, "the single greatest impediment to the stock market going higher." On March 23 of that year, according to <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-503544_162-20000981-503544.html" target="_hplink">CBS News</a>, President Obama signed health care reform into law. Following Yahoo's tracking of the Dow Jones, the market on April 1 2010 was at 10,927. On August 17, over two years later, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was pegged at <a href="http://data.cnbc.com/quotes/.DJIA" target="_hplink">13,264</a>. Granted, the market could still take a nose dive. But odds are it won't be because of health care reform.
Michelle Bachmann: Obama Taking 'The Final Leap To Socialism'
In a radio interview Minnesota Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann gave with Bill Bennet in March of 2009, the Minnesotan claimed that Obama's policies were representing the "final leap into socialism," <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2009/03/05/36590/buchmann-thwart-obama/" target="_hplink">Think Progress</a> reported. But alas, while Bachmann's sensational claim may have gotten her into the spotlight, the government has been engaged in selling its stake in the industries that it had to temporarily prop up. General Motors, an automaker that the U.S. government had to prop up with emergency capital, bought back all preferred shares held by the U.S. Treasury as of December 2010, reports <a href="http://dealbook.nytimes.com/2010/12/16/g-m-buys-back-2-1-billion-preferred-shares/" target="_hplink"><em>The New York Times</em></a>. Wall Street's largest banks that have frequently brought about wrath from liberals such as <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/18/opinion/18krugman.html?_r=1&ref=paulkrugman" target="_hplink">Paul Krugman,</a> like Citi, Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, are still privately run.
Glenn Beck: U.S. Will Go Through 'Great Depression Times 100' (Or Hyperinflation)
In early 2010, then-Fox News commentator Glenn Beck said that the U.S. was likely in for a "Great Depression Times 100," reports <a href="http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201001050049" target="_hplink">Media Matters</a>, going on to say that the country would experience a period of hyperinflation. Unemployment during the Great Depression peaked at around 25 percent, according to an article published by <a href="http://www.bls.gov/opub/cwc/cm20030124ar02p1.htm" target="_hplink">the Bureau of Labor Statistics</a>. But even at the worst moments of the Great Recession, unemployment only reached slightly above 10 percent. Presently, it is <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/03/unemployment-rate-jobs-report-bls_n_1736843.html" target="_hplink">at 8.3 percent</a>, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. With inflation estimated to remain stagnant at 1.5 percent through 2012, the nightmare warnings of hyperinflation expounded by Beck as well as by renowned "economist" <a href="http://www.cobdencentre.org/2010/10/peter-schiff-dollar-hyperinflation-is-coming-unless-policy-direction-is-rapidly-changed/" target="_hplink">Peter Schiff</a> appears to be just that. A nightmare.
Rick Santelli: 'Stagflation Is Almost A Certainty'
In October of 2009, CNBC analyst and Tea Party founder Rick Santelli told said on the show Fast Money that he believed <a href="http://126.96.36.199/id/15840232?video=1287468464&play=1" target="_hplink">"stagflation is almost a certainty."</a> In other words Santelli was predicting that America would go through a period of high inflation and high unemployment. The only question he had was when. In November of that year, <a href="http://www.bls.gov/cpi/cpid0910.pdf" target="_hplink">the Bureau of Labor Statistics</a> revealed that between October 2008 and October 2009, prices rose by 1.7 percent not including food and gas. This made, at the time, Santelli's claim even bolder. Even though unemployment is still high -- almost three years later -- inflation has risen far below the Federal Reserves 2 percent annual target, <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-14/romney-ryan-see-fed-qe-as-inflation-risk-amid-low-prices.html" target="_hplink">Bloomberg reports.</a>
Rush Limbaugh: Obamacare Will Leave 250 Million People Uninsured
Among the many predictions conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh has made over the years, the one he made on March 8, 2010 was not one of his best. On his daily radio show <em>The Rush Limbaugh Show</em>, Limbaugh announced to his listeners that healthcare reform, which would be signed into law later that month, would end up leaving 250 million Americans uninsured, <a href="http://mediamatters.org/mmtv/201003080025" target="_hplink">Media Matters</a> reported. As of June 2012, 49.9 million Americans do not have health insurance, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/27/politics/btn-health-care/index.html" target="_hplink">CNN estimated</a>.
Mitt Romney: U.S. WIll Default If We Raise Debt Ceiling
In the <a href="http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/1106/13/se.02.html" target="_hplink">June 13, 2011 Republican Presidential Debate</a>, Mitt Romney, when asked about the consequences of not raising the debt limit answered the moderator's question with a question. "Well, what happens if we continue to spend time and time again, year and year again more money than we take in?" As Asher Smith pointed out on <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/asher-smith/republican-debate-economy_b_876899.html" target="_hplink"><em>The Huffington Post</em></a>, this can only mean that the U.S. will eventually be unable to pay off its obligations and, as a result, default. Bit as of August 2012, close to one year after the debt ceiling was raised, the U.S. still hasn't defaulted.
Bill Gross: End Of QE2 Would Cause Bond Yields To Go 'Much Higher'
In March of 2011, PIMCO Co-Founder Bill Gross predicted an imminent spike in treasury bond yields following the end of the Federal Reserve's Quantitative Easing program, <a href="http://finance.fortune.cnn.com/2011/03/02/gross-warns-qe2s-end-could-sink-markets/" target="_hplink"><em>Fortune's</em> Colin Barr reported</a>. Bond yields, Gross told reporters, were likely to go "higher maybe even much higher" at the end of June 2011 when QE2 ended. The 10-year treasury bond yield has since fallen. Since the 2011, 10-year bond rates have hovered between 2.5 and 1.5 percent, according to <a href="http://www.bloomberg.com/quote/USGG10YR:IND/chart" target="_hplink">Bloomberg</a>.
Joe Biden: US Out Of Recession In 18 Months (Feb. '09)
In February of 2009, Vice President Joe Biden predicted that the federal stimulus package being implemented by Barack Obama's administration would "literally drop kick us out of this recession," <a href="http://thehill.com/blogs/on-the-money/801-economy/114661-gop-reminds-biden-of-missed-prediction-on-the-recovery" target="_hplink"><em>The Hill</em></a> reported. "This [stimulus] is about getting this out and spent in 18 months to create 3.5 million jobs." Technically, the recession ended during the third fiscal quarter of 2009, <a href="http://www.bea.gov/newsreleases/national/gdp/gdp_glance.htm" target="_hplink">according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis</a>. But with unemployment hovering around over 8 percent for the last three years, some economists are no longer talking about calling the current economic period a recovery. Brad DeLong, an economist with UC Berkley, told readers on his blog in 2011 that we're now in the midst of a <a href="http://delong.typepad.com/sdj/2011/06/the-little-depression.html" target="_hplink">"Little Depression" instead.</a>
Peter Schiff: Inflation At 20 Percent By 2009
Economist Peter Schiff stated that the Federal Reserves monetary policies would lead to 20 percent inflation within one year. The statement, made in October 2008 on <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jB9fuIvksLw" target="_hplink">Glenn Beck's former CNN program</a>, was proven wrong. During 2009, <a href="http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/inflation-cpi" target="_hplink">the U.S. actually experience deflation.</a>
Ron Paul: Beware Of Runaway Inflation
Congressman Ron Paul believed that runaway inflation was "just horrendous" in May 2011, he said during an appearance on <a href="http://www.ronpaul.com/2009-05-12/ron-paul-warns-against-runaway-inflation/" target="_hplink">Fox Business News</a>. <a href="http://www.tradingeconomics.com/united-states/inflation-cpi" target="_hplink">When Congressman Paul made that statement</a>, inflation was pegged at 3.2 percent and, after peaking at 3.9 percent that October, inflation has steadily fallen to 1.4 percent in July 2012.