President Barack Obama has nominated an exceptionally well-qualified economist as the next chairman of the Federal Reserve. By the way, once confirmed -- as few doubt she will be -- Janet Yellen will be the first woman to lead the central bank in its 100-year history.
The new chairman will have her work cut out. Five years after the financial crisis, the U.S. economy is frail, and its largest banks are still oversized and undercapitalized. Congress and the White House are so much at odds over fiscal policy that most of the federal government is shuttered, leaving only the Fed to provide the needed stimulus. It has already cut short-term interest rates to almost zero, and it has had to pursue other, more novel approaches to stimulate growth and put people back to work. It may have to do more, even as the dangers of further quantitative easing mount.