Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, In Row 19 On Delta

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, known for arriving at the airport “hours early for flights to avoid mishaps and to ensure choice space in overhead compartments,” was spotted today flying coach on Delta to Detroit today to give a speech. She was relegated to row 19.

SPOTTED: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen – 19th row, briefing materials in hand – en route to Michigan for an economic speech today in Dearborn at the @Ford Rogue Electric Vehicle Center

— Kristin Brown (@kristincbrown) September 8, 2022

Secretary Yellen is headed to give a speech in Dearborn, Michigan, so she’s flying to Detroit. The person sharing this doesn’t say where the flight originated but it looks like Delta and I assume DC. Delta has the GSA city pair contracts (and the best service) from all 3 DC area airports.

Honestly it seems to me that the Treasury Secretary – whatever your politics – ought to warrant first class. She’s obviously working, reading her briefing book, which presumably includes the speech she’ll be giving.

It’s fair to say she ‘doesn’t deserve it’. While she reportedly argued for lower government spending when the Biden Administration’s $1.9 trillion ‘American Rescue Plan’ was put together, she lost that fight. And she’s acknowledged she didn’t anticipate the inflation that was, in part, fed by that legislation (as well as earlier massive spending packages).

In her speech Yellen made the best argument she could for the administration’s spending vis-a-vis the challenge of inflation, that it would help grow the economy’s productive capacity. Inflation stems from too much money chasing too few goods, and both Federal Reserve loose money and federal spending have pumped in money. The administration has largely relied on the Fed to tighten, but more goods and services would help dampen inflation as well (this is a strong argument for deregulation).

There are few more qualified for the role at Treasury, of course, bureaucratic infighting skills necessary to dampen inflation-fueled spending sprees notwithstanding. She’s a former Chair of the Federal Reserve, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and UC Berkeley economics professor (early in her career she taught at Harvard as well). Her husband George Akerlof is the 2001 Nobel Laureate in Economics.

I have to think if I were 76 year old Yellen, and Secretary of the Treasury, I’d just come out of pocket for the upgrade to first class – hardly a luxury on a domestic jet. She can easily afford it on the speaking fees she earned between leaving the Fed and taking up as Treasury Secretary alone.

(HT: @crucker)

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