Breakout

Will Economists Be Wrong About Yellen Too?

Breakout

In the wake of the biggest broadside to the collective economic world in years, it seems only fair that we scrutinize some of the other so-called "consensus opinions" to see if they are as vulnerable as Wednesday's botched projection on Fed tapering.

Not only did they get it wrong that the Fed was about to begin reining in its monthly bond buying program, but this same group now expects us to believe them when they say with authority that Federal Reserve vice chair Janet Yellen will be Ben Bernanke's successor.

Related: Bernanke Confuses Wall Street by Sticking Exactly to His Plan

In the attached video, our esteemed panel of guests, including RBS senior economist Michelle Girard, KKM Financial's Jeff Kilburg, and Yahoo Finance colleagues Jeff Macke and Mike Santoli, debate Yellen's candidacy. It's not a question of experience or credentials, it's a question of politics and to a lesser degree payback and pettiness.

For starters, since Yellen's resume and reputation are impeccable, there's never been a question of whether or not she is up for the job. The problem stems from the fact that the job in question is often touted as carrying more power and clout than any other position in the world, beside that of the U.S. President. Therefore, selecting a Fed chairman is inherently political.

That said, since the President's trusted ally and preferred choice Larry Summers is now out of the running, the street's favorite pick, Janet Yellen, has once again risen to hold the meaningless mantle of frontrunner in a contest that could be decided as early as next week.

While news reports have suggested the White House is warming up to Yellen, there's still the reality that this administration and President have a very good memory do not like to be pushed around. Other reports have suggested that the White House does not want to allow newly elected Yellen supporter and Summers opponent Senator Elizabeth Warren to effectively have the role of kingmaker.

Other observers have said what the nation needs now is an outsider and actual banker running the central bank, not an academic, consultant or regulator.

In spite of the fact that Yellen is qualified and expected to be nominated, it begs the question: Is consensus once again failing to see the forest through the trees?

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