Why this net lease broker needed to see Janet Yellen (and it wasn’t about interest rates)

This article was written by David Sobelman, CEO and founder of 3 Properties.


Working remotely enables me and my family to explore some of the most interesting parts of the country at the most interesting times. While visiting Colorado recently, we learned that Janet Yellen, former Chair of the Federal Reserve, would be speaking nearby. So my wife and I got the kids situated and went on a date to hear about economic policy! I know, I’m a romantic!

Democratic-leaning Yellen was speaking with Republican-leaning Kevin Warsh – a former governor of the Federal Reserve. Both have had direct access to the President (Trump), and both interviewed for the Fed Chair job when Trump took office. The dynamic of these two brilliant economic minds was interesting to say the least! 

Here is a summary of some of their perspectives:

  • Both were surprised by the amount of stimulus required to bolster the U.S. economy. This was most likely a result of how bad the recession was.  
  • Large central bank balance sheets are the new normal for advanced economies.
  • Both think the market – not necessarily what is right for the U.S. economy – is dictating interest rates. However, Yellen agreed with the most recent rate cut (.25 bps) and Warsh did not.
  • Warsh felt that low interest rates don’t provide sustainable and meaningful economic growth.
  • Japan and Europe have unsustainable negative interest rate environments.
  • Sovereign debt hovers around $14 trillion dollars.
  • The U.S. is part of the global economy, albeit still the strongest economy in the world, and is the measure that most countries still use.
  • The U.S. has doubled its sovereign debt in the last five years, but its interest expense is lower due to lower rates. This is not sustainable once rates increase.
  • Climate change has the potential to drastically increase domestic spending in order to replace or add infrastructure to accommodate these changes, among other things.

So why did this net lease broker need to see Yellen? Well … I needed my wife to think I’m halfway intelligent. And bringing her to a small venue to listen to these fantastic intellectuals discuss economics was part of my ongoing efforts to impress and woo her. 

It had nothing to do with me hoping for lower interest rates!