Last night the Federal Reserve convened a Town Hall meeting via webcast with K-12 teachers and college educators of economics and history. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen delivered a speech and then took a series of questions from teachers. It was during the Q&A period that Yellen gave a sobering assessment of the long-term prospects for the U. S. At numerous points, Yellen echoed the income inequality themes that Senator Bernie Sanders raised repeatedly at his rallies around the country during the presidential primaries.
When asked about the biggest obstacles to the U. S. economy over the short and long term, Yellen said she did not have serious concerns over the short term but was worried about the longer term. In addition to productivity concerns, Yellen stated: (See video clip below.)
‘We have seen over many decades now that the returns – the wages and income – of people with more education and higher skills have continued to increase systematically relative to those with less education. By some measures, men with a high school education or less are seeing not only stagnant incomes but the disappearance of jobs that afforded them reasonably secure lives and retirements. And these are problems that really lie outside the scope of what the Federal Reserve is able to address and I think they represent longer term structural trends in the global economy.’
This post was published at Wall Street On Parade on January 13, 2017.