Federal Reserve Board Chair Janet Yellen
Can you name this mystery woman? Susan Walsh—AP

Most Americans Know Nothing About the Most Powerful Person in the Economy

Mar 10, 2015

Does the name Janet Yellen mean anything to you? If so, that puts you ahead of most Americans.

To recap for the majority, Yellen is the chair of the Federal Reserve. As the central bank of the United States, the Fed sets monetary policy for the largest economy on earth. That includes things like keeping the dollar's value stable and instituting policies to stimulate the economy, such as low interest rates and the now-completed quantitative easing program, during which the Federal Reserve bought $4.5 trillion worth of bonds.

So Yellen is kind of a big deal.

But most Americans don't even know the chairwoman's name. According to a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, 70% of the nation has no idea who Janet Yellen is. However, 92% of respondents said they were familiar with the Federal Reserve. That's kind of like the vast majority of Americans saying they'd heard of the presidency, but couldn't name the guy in office.

Too be fair, it's understandable that Yellen would be less known than, say, Barack Obama, considering the policy-wonk nature of her work. After all, listening to someone talk about the finer points of macroeconomics isn't most people's idea of a good time.

And while most Americans may not know who Yellen is or what, exactly, the Fed does, they are clear on one thing: they want elected officials to keep out of its business.

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