But the digital divide has also exacerbated inequality, and digitalization has raised concerns about privacy, illicit activity, and threats of surveillance and cybersecurity attacks from our adversaries. I will be working domestically and closely with our allies to promote innovation in digital finance, in the interest of cheap, instantaneous, and reliable commercial and financial transactions, but also to ensure that we modernize our legal and regulatory frameworks to take account of the risks and threats inherent in the use of these new technologies.
Another consequence of an interconnected world has been a thirty-year race to the bottom on corporate tax rates. Competitiveness is about more than how U.S.-headquartered companies fare against other companies in global merger and acquisition bids.
We are working with our partners to enhance pandemic preparedness against future shocks. We need to learn lessons from this pandemic to be better prepared to stop future contagious diseases before they become full-scale pandemics.
Another global challenge we face is how to adapt to technological change, which has brought significant benefits but contributed to greater inequality.
Digitalization is the latest technological advance that provides an opportunity to raise productivity and increase connectivity, both at home and globally. Even just a year ago, I never thought that I would regularly be joining meetings with colleagues in London, Delhi, Sydney, and everywhere in between from the comfort of my office in Treasury.
We must do better.
U.S. credibility begins at home
The American people elected President Biden and Vice President Harris to tackle these challenges—the pandemic, the economic crisis, a hollowing of the middle class, systemic racism, deepening inequality, and climate change. To not just return us to life as it was before the pandemic but to build back better, creating a prosperous economy for all.
Credibility abroad begins with credibility at home.
How can America help lead the world out of the dual crises of pandemic and economic recession if we can’t lead ourselves out of it? It’s a fair question, and it’s why last month, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law.
The rescue plan is easily the largest relief package since the Great Depression.
Biden will restore full incentives for electric vehicles.”
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Yellen was also asked about the plan to affirm the U.S.’ commitment to a market-determined exchange rate. She said that she believes in a strong U.S. economy that delivers good jobs with rising wages.
“I believe in market-determined exchange rates.
The value of the dollar should be determined by the markets. The U.S. does not seek a weaker currency to gain a competitive advantage, and we should oppose attempts by other countries to do so to gain commercial advantages.
A personal objective of mine is to focus our international engagements on fostering full legal rights and greater economic and education opportunities for women and girls, given the clear evidence that this will support inclusive economic growth more broadly. Speaking from my own experience, we need to do better at reducing barriers for women’s economic empowerment, even unconscious ones, in nearly every country in the world, including the United States.
Finally, there are certain matters where we are in it together—where the challenges are global and no one country will be successful if it goes at it in isolation.
The most evident, immediate example is the need to address global health risks.
COVID-19 has clearly shown that pandemic responses require global cooperation.
Our first task must clearly be stopping the virus by ensuring that vaccinations, testing, and therapeutics are available as widely as possible. Low-income countries risk falling to the back of the line and may not achieve widespread vaccine coverage until 2023 or 2024 at the current pace.
More work and funding are needed to secure vaccine purchases, address manufacturing shortages, and finance and facilitate the domestic rollout in low-income countries.
We also need to help lessen the economic pain in low-income countries during a protracted recovery period and use this opportunity—as we are doing in the United States—to facilitate structural transformations to more inclusive and sustainable economies.
I am pleased that Treasury is co-chairing a newly launched G20 sustainable finance working group, where finance ministries and central banks will work together to identify mechanisms for promoting green investments and accelerating transition to a net-zero economy.
As I prepare to meet with my colleagues from around the world this week at the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings, I find myself thinking back to the policymakers who gathered in Bretton Woods a year before I was born to define our post-war order. Though it was a different time, I empathize with the enormous weight they faced; the pressure to come together after a global catastrophe in building an enduring and interconnected system aimed at promoting peace and prosperity throughout the world.
The IMF and the World Bank have already played an important role on this front, and we are working to strengthen their ability to support the poorest countries. We have created a new multilateral framework to help low-income countries address unsustainable debt burdens. And at the IMF, we are working to issue $650 billion in new Special Drawing Rights, an international reserve asset, that will increase buffers for all IMF members and give low-income countries the additional liquidity for greater spending on vaccines and healthcare.
Embedded in recovery efforts, we have an interest in helping countries pursue sustainable and inclusive growth and strengthen long-term resilience.
In the long run, I believe the benefits will far outweigh the costs, especially if we care about helping people who have been struggling for a very long time.”
Yellen was nominated to be chair of the Fed by Barack Obama and she stepped down in February 2018 after President Donald Trump decided not to nominate her for a second four-year term. Since leaving the Fed, Yellen has been a distinguished researcher at the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank.
In the financial disclosure forms filed with the committee, Yellen listed more than $7 million in speaking fees she has received from a number of top Wall Street firms such as Goldman Sachs and Citigroup since leaving the Fed.
Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who will become chairman when Democrats take over the Senate, said it was his hope that Yellen could be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as Thursday.
Biden last week unveiled a $1.9 trillion relief plan that would provide more aid to American families and businesses and more support for vaccine production and distribution as well as providing support for states and localities to avoid layoffs of teachers and first responders.
Many Republicans raised the soaring budget deficits as a reason to be cautious in passing further relief. Last year, the budget deficit climbed to a record $3.1 trillion.
Yellen said that she and Biden were aware of the country’s rising debt burden but felt fighting the pandemic-recession was more important currently.
“Right now, with interest rates at historic lows, the smartest thing we can do is act big,” she said.