Economic Inequality Worries Fed Chair Janet Yellen

The US Federal Reserve(WASHINGTON) — Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve, said in a speech at the Conference on Economic Opportunity and Inequality on Friday that she was worried about the increasing income and wealth inequality in the United States.

“The extent and continuing increase in inequality in the United States greatly concern me,” Yellen said. “The past several decades have seen the most sustained rise in inequality since the 19th century after more than 40 years of narrowing inequality following the Great Depression.”

“It is no secret,” she noted, “that the past few decades of widening inequality can be summed up as significant income and wealth gains for those at the very top and stagnant living standards for the majority.”

In her speech, she highlighted the “four building blocks of opportunity,” that she believes can aid in providing mobility and reverse the trends of inequality. Those building blocks include increased resources available for children, affordable higher education and opportunities to build wealth through business ownership. She also noted the impact of inheritances on economic opportunity.

Yellen also cited research that indicates that economic mobility has remained unchanged for “several decades” in the U.S., and that the U.S. ranks lower in mobility “than in most other advanced countries.”

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