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Yellen Is First Female Treasury Secretary With Signature on U.S. Dollar

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WASHINGTON — During a recent appearance on “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert,” Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen faced a clumsy query: After nearly two years within the job, why was the signature of her predecessor, Steven T. Mnuchin, still scrawled across the nation’s currency?

The reply, she explained, was a quirk of currency design that required a latest treasurer of america to be in place before the cash could possibly be remade with each of their signatures.

That finally happened on Thursday when the primary bank notes bearing the name of America’s first female Treasury secretary were unveiled. The occasion was one other crack within the glass ceiling for Ms. Yellen and the notoriously male-dominated field of economics.

The bills will even bear the name of Marilynn Malerba, the primary Native American to carry the role of treasurer. The primary $1 and $5 notes with their signatures will enter circulation next month.

Ms. Yellen, who has previously served because the Federal Reserve chair and the pinnacle of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, said on Thursday that having her name on the currency was greater than a private profession achievement.

“Today is just not about me or a latest signature on our currency,” Ms. Yellen said during a visit to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Fort Value, Texas. “It’s about our collective work to create a stronger and more inclusive economy.”

Inflation F.A.Q.

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What’s inflation? Inflation is a loss of buying power over time, meaning your dollar won’t go as far tomorrow because it did today. It is usually expressed because the annual change in prices for on a regular basis goods and services equivalent to food, furniture, apparel, transportation and toys.

What causes inflation? It may well be the results of rising consumer demand. But inflation also can rise and fall based on developments which have little to do with economic conditions, equivalent to limited oil production and provide chain problems.

Is inflation bad? It will depend on the circumstances. Fast price increases spell trouble, but moderate price gains can result in higher wages and job growth.

Can inflation affect the stock market? Rapid inflation typically spells trouble for stocks. Financial assets usually have historically fared badly during inflation booms, while tangible assets like houses have held their value higher.

The Treasury secretary noted that things haven’t all the time come easily for ladies in economics. When Ms. Yellen accomplished her doctorate at Yale in 1971, she recalled, there have been no other women in her cohort.

“Once I was initially of my academic profession, women made up only 6 percent of school in economic departments surveyed by the American Economic Association,” Ms. Yellen said. “And this was back within the early Seventies. Women who got here before me — and much more so for those in less-forgiving professions — experienced much worse.”

During her first two years on the Treasury, Ms. Yellen has sought to bring more gender and racial diversity to the department, a move aimed toward ensuring that the Biden administration’s economic policies are representative of the population, and more equitable.

From a policy perspective, Ms. Yellen’s tenure has not been without turbulence. The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan that Democrats passed last yr helped stoke essentially the most rapid inflation in 4 many years. After expressing optimism that inflation would cool when pandemic-stricken supply chains became untangled, Ms. Yellen acknowledged this yr that she misjudged the trajectory of rising prices.

And while Ms. Yellen notched a significant diplomatic win in 2021 by leading greater than 130 countries to comply with enact a world minimum tax, Congress has yet to ratify the pact, leaving the international tax overhaul in limbo.

That had helped fuel speculation in Washington that Ms. Yellen might leave her position after the midterm elections. Nonetheless, she said at a Latest York Times DealBook conference in November that she is committed to staying on.

“I don’t have any plans to depart,” Ms. Yellen said, adding that she is enthusiastic about carrying out President Biden’s agenda.

The job could soon grow to be more difficult. Republicans, who’re assuming control of the House of Representatives, have made clear they plan an aggressive array of investigations into the Biden administration’s policies, including its efforts to beef up the Internal Revenue Service.

Ms. Yellen will play a number one role in those efforts, overseeing an $80 billion revamp of the tax agency. Her department will even should navigate enactment of a climate and energy law that has angered the European Union and incorporates tax measures that can be devised on the Treasury Department. And Ms. Yellen will face the challenge of holding together a global push to impose crushing sanctions on Russia without causing additional inflationary blowback.

In her remarks, Ms. Yellen noted that while women have appeared on American coinage, there’s unfinished work to be done to diversify America’s currency.

“Along with your labor, we can be introducing latest currency designs in the approaching years — including placing Harriet Tubman’s portrait on the $20 bill,” she said.

The initiative so as to add Tubman to the $20 bill was first proposed by Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew in 2016 but stalled through the Trump administration under Mr. Mnuchin’s watch. The Biden administration said last yr that it was exploring ways to speed up the discharge of a redesigned $20 note, however the complexity of developing latest anti-counterfeiting technology continues to be an obstacle. The brand new $20 notes are scheduled to come out in 2030.

The delay in getting Ms. Yellen’s signature on the greenback stemmed from the White House’s slow process for selecting a U.S. treasurer. By tradition, the treasurer must sign the cash together with the Treasury secretary. Each signatures are engraved onto plates on the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, where they’re printed and submitted to the Federal Reserve, which determines what currency can be added to circulation.

Mr. Biden finally appointed Ms. Malerba in June. The role, which doesn’t require Senate confirmation, includes overseeing the U.S. Mint, the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and Fort Knox.

Ms. Malerba, who attended the event in Ft. Value, said that “this moment is history,” noting that “two women on the currency for the primary time is momentous.”

Throughout the Treasury Department, the rollout of the notes bearing Ms. Yellen’s signature was met with enthusiasm.

“It’s an amazing — each symbolic — but in addition a vital moment,” Wally Adeyemo, the deputy Treasury secretary, said in an interview this week. “Considered one of the things I’m looking forward to is getting my 5-year-old goddaughter a duplicate of a bill signed by two women, including Janet Yellen, who’s the primary woman in greater than 200 years to be the secretary of the Treasury.”

The disclosing of the Treasury secretary’s signature on latest currency is traditionally a moment of some intrigue and fanfare.

At Mr. Mnuchin’s ceremony in 2017, he posed with a sheet of uncut $1 notes together with his wife, Louise Linton. The pictures went viral, with Mr. Mnuchin, a former Goldman Sachs banker, drawing comparisons to a Bond villain.

During her conversation with Mr. Colbert, Ms. Yellen recalled that Mr. Lew’s signature gave the impression to be eight circles that were connected and that the penmanship of his predecessor, Timothy F. Geithner, also proved to be illegible. Each, she said, needed to be redone.

On Thursday, Ms. Yellen — who is understood to have a penchant for exacting preparation — acknowledged that she spent some “quality time” signing her name clearly before submitting it to the director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

“You’d think this could be an easy process,” Ms. Yellen said. “However the founding fathers didn’t account for what appears to be a typical attribute for Treasury secretaries: namely, terrible handwriting.”

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