Janet Yellen Eats at Subway—What Does This Mean for Interest Rates?

Subway sandwich

Image via Subway's Facebook

Next week the Federal Reserve convenes its Federal Open Market Committee meeting where financial analysts are anticipating hikes in the interest rate. The sense is that the rate hikes indicate a booming economy. Not so fast: It is now less certain the economy is getting back on track. Indeed, it may be headed for trouble. And the reason for concern? Fed chair Janet Yellin was just seen eating at a Subway.

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Politico seemed blithely unaware of the fiscal implications when it reported that Yellen was "spotted" at the Subway on K and 20th in downtown D.C. "eating lunch on Monday by herself, with a security detail inside and outside around her SUVs."

She didn’t even treat her bodyguards to a B.M.T.! Instead, Yellen ate alone under those bright fluorescent lights, probably listening to the soft-rock sounds of 97.1 WASH-FM. If things were actually bullish, the Fed chair could have easily gone directly across the street to the Prime Rib and treated herself to a $59 prime filet mignon (most of the filet mignon you’ve had isn’t actually prime). She could’ve sipped a Stag’s Leap cab and spun yarns with owner Buzz Beler. Plus she would’ve poured hundreds of dollars into the economy, keeping all those line cooks, waiters, and busboys employed. But no—she went to Subway and probably got a six-inch with chips and soda for less than $10.

Of course it can be argued that the Fed chair should be praised for her frugality and perhaps that is why the economy is where it’s at today—because hard-working Americans like Janet Yellen know how to spend wisely. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that. The question remains: What did she eat at Subway and what does that tell us about the direction of the nation’s economy?

Personally, I prefer the Spicy Italian. I try my best to make it resemble something similar to an actual sub from my favorite Italian deli in Jersey (an effort described to me as "the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard" from a food editor at the Washington Post). Nevertheless, this involves Provolone, lettuce, tomato, mayo, oil and vinegar, onion, and oregano on a simple "Italian" loaf. It’s actually quite decent and something I enjoyed throughout the recession.

Politico didn’t say what the chair was eating but according to at least one expert, if Yellen ordered a melt, this ought to bode well for the country. "The Subway melt is by far the best Subway sandwich," claims John McCormack, a senior writer at the Weekly Standard and former Subway sandwich artist. "Four slices of turkey, two slices of ham, two strips of bacon, and white American cheese—all toasted to perfection."

On the other hand, says McCormack, "for her sake, and the sake of global financial markets, I pray she didn’t try the seafood sub."

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