Speeches by Richard W. Fisher
Speeches on Policy Issues
Comments on Monetary Policy
(With Praise for Urban Lehner, Norman Borlaug and Dentists)
Remarks before the DTN/The Progressive Farmer Ag Summit 2013
December 9, 2013
"In my view, we at the Fed should begin tapering back our bond purchases at the earliest opportunity. To enable the markets to digest this change of course with minimal disruption, we should do so within the context of a clearly articulated, well-defined calendar for reducing purchases on a steady path to zero."
Uncertainty Matters (With Reference to Kinky Monetary Policy, Two Nickels and a Dime)
Remarks before the Causes & Macroeconomic Consequences of Uncertainty Conference
October 3, 2013
"A policy that takes a longer-term perspective and is properly communicated and executed—so as to instill confidence that monetary policy will hew to a 2 percent inflation target rather than fixate on the run-rate of the past four quarters or the outlook for the next four—may better supply the longer-term comfort that households and businesses need to plan and budget."
Review, Reflect and Deflect (With Reference to the Texas Ratio, 'Super-Spreaders' and Three Great Newspapers)
Remarks before the Independent Bankers Association of Texas Annual Convention
San Antonio, Texas
September 23, 2013
"Doing nothing at this [FOMC] meeting would increase uncertainty about the future conduct of policy and call the credibility of our communications into question."
Correcting ‘Dodd–Frank’ to Actually End ‘Too Big to Fail’
Statement before the Committee on Financial Services, U.S. House of Representatives
Hearing on "Examining How the Dodd–Frank Act Could Result in More Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts"
June 26 2013
"I implore the members of this important committee and the Congress to not succumb merely to the illusion of hope. Don't listen to the siren song of the megabanks and their lobbyists. Take action to deal with the unfair advantages that these institutions enjoy… Leveling the playing field is a just cause for 99.8 percent of American banks and for all Americans."
'Oil and Gas, Blondes and Over-Accessorized Brunettes, and Ruthless, Hard-Drinking Cowboys' (With Reference to Sheikh Zayed, Diana Natalicio, My Nephew Charles and President Peña Nieto)
Remarks at the University of Texas at El Paso Centennial Lecture
El Paso, TX
April 10, 2013
"At the moment, and for the foreseeable future, neither inflation nor deflation appears on the forecast horizon. However, the longer-term inflationary consequences of the massive quantitative easing programs we have undertaken—programs I have opposed in our Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings but that have been approved by the majority of the committee—are as yet unclear. Those aftereffects will depend on how artful the committee will be in unwinding that accommodation on a timely basis."
Ending 'Too Big to Fail'
Remarks before the Conservative Political Action Conference
National Harbor, Maryland
March 16, 2013
"The aim of our three-step proposal is simple: All banks would be subject to the same regulatory oversight—and most important, they all would be subject to the market discipline exercised by owners and creditors."
Comments on Monetary Policy and 'Too Big to Fail' (With a Tribute to Irving Kristol)
Remarks before Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs
New York, N.Y.
February 27, 2013
"The bottom line is that rather than achieve the intended theoretical effect, I believe the policy of super-abundant money at costs deviating substantially from normal equilibrium levels may ultimately prove to be counterproductive. Or it may restrain the benefits that theory might suggest."
Ending 'Too Big to Fail': A Proposal for Reform Before It's Too Late (With Reference to Patrick Henry, Complexity and Reality)
Remarks before the Committee for the Republic
January 16, 2013
"The Dallas Fed’s proposal offers an 'about-turn' and a way to mend the flaws in Dodd–Frank.... In a nutshell, we recommend that TBTF financial institutions be restructured into multiple business entities. Only the resulting downsized commercial banking operations—and not shadow banking affiliates or the parent company—would benefit from the safety net of federal deposit insurance and access to the Federal Reserve’s discount window."
"One of the most important lessons learned during the economic recovery is that there is a limit to what monetary policy alone can achieve. The responsibility for stimulating economic growth must be shared with fiscal policy."
The United States Should Borrow Mexico's Fiscal Discipline Manual
(With Reference to Cantinflas, Guillermo Ortiz's Quip, Inflation Targeting and Many Comparative Metrics)
Remarks before the Bolsa Mexicana de Valores
February 29, 2012
"Mexico's rapid recovery in all dimensions of its macroeconomy and financial sector is proof positive that the gain from reform is worth the pain. I would go so far as to say there are lessons to be learned here, lessons for the U.S. and even lessons for Europe."
Texas Redux, America Restrained
(With a Discussion of the Limits of Monetary Policy)
Remarks before the Texas Manufacturers Summit 2012
San Marcos, Texas
February 15, 2012
"In a nutshell, Texas continues on a path it has been on for over two decades, outperforming the nation in economic growth and job expansion. We have fully recovered the jobs lost during the Great Recession and have punched through previous peak employment levels."
A Report on the Texas Economy and a Hawk(s)eye View on Recent Fed Pronouncements: What Does It All Mean?
Remarks before the Headliners Club
February 2, 2012
"Explicitly acknowledging that monetary policy's impact on employment is transitory and uncertain is a cardinal event. It signals to the markets that there are limits to the ultimate job-stoking efficacy of Federal Reserve policy. To the extent that inflation is running below 2 percent, the Federal Reserve may have somewhat greater latitude to pursue accommodation. However, the past few years have demonstrated, yet again, that allowing inflation to rise by no means guarantees faster job growth."
Buy a Ticket!
(With Reference to the Strauss Brothers, Ambassador Mike Moore, Kenneth Arrow, Financial Sharpies, Martin Luther King Jr. and Gov. Dewey)
Remarks before the Dallas Friday Group
October 21, 2011
"Absent some shock, I envision a slow but steady improvement in the economy into 2012. That is, if our fiscal authorities will remove their stranglehold on clarifying fiscal initiatives. If not, then, in my view, I expect job creators will remain in a defensive crouch and all bets are off."
Texas: What Makes Us Exceptional? Where Are We Vulnerable?
Remarks before the Texas Economic Development Council Annual Conference
October 6, 2011
"We must not lose track of this simple, unalterable, indisputable, critical fact: We have done well so far; our economy is mighty. But to stay ahead of the curve and compete in tomorrow’s global marketplace, Texas must better educate its population."
Explaining Dissent on the FOMC Vote for Operation Twist
(With Reference to Jan Mayen Island, Paul Volcker and Thor’s Hammer)
Remarks before the Dallas Assembly
September 27, 2011
"Monetary policy cannot solve the problem of substandard economic performance unless it is complemented by fiscal policy and regulatory reform that encourages the private sector to put to work the affordable and abundant liquidity we are able to create as the nation’s monetary authority."
Of Moose and Men
(With No Reference to Steinbeck)
Remarks before the National Association for Business Economics
September 12, 2011
"It is incumbent on the Fed and other bank regulators to reduce the regulatory burdens that are inhibiting—indeed, overwhelming—community bankers whose business it is to lend to creditworthy small businesses."
Connecting the Dots: Texas Employment Growth; a Dissenting Vote; and the Ugly Truth
(With Reference to P.G. Wodehouse)
Remarks at the Midland Community Forum
August 17, 2011
"I have spoken to this many times in public. Those with the capacity to hire American workers... are immobilized. Not because they lack entrepreneurial zeal or do not wish to grow; not because they can’t access cheap and available credit. Rather, they simply cannot budget or manage for the uncertainty of fiscal and regulatory policy."
Containing (or Restraining) Systemic Risk: The Need to Not Fail on 'Too Big to Fail'
(With Reference to Margaret Thatcher, Geoffrey Howe, Irving Kristol, Joe Nocera, Bastiat, Nietzsche, Mencken and Sandy Weill)
Remarks before the Market News International Seminar
New York, N.Y.
June 6, 2011
"Postcrisis, the large institutions are even larger: The top 10 now account for 64 percent of assets, up from 58 percent before the crisis and substantially higher than the 25 percent they accounted for in 1990. In effect, more prudent and better-managed banks have been denied the market share that would have been theirs if mismanaged big banks had been allowed to go out of business.
'Is America's Decline Exaggerated or Inevitable?' The Role of Monetary and Fiscal Policy
(With Reference to St. Peter, Calvin Coolidge, Walter Bagehot, Paul Volcker, Winston Churchill and T.R. Fehrenbach)
Remarks before the Society of American Business Editors and Writers 2011 Annual Conference Dallas, Texas
April 8, 2011
"Now, we at the Fed are nearing a tipping point. Just as we pressed on in doing our duty through extraordinary, exigent measures, we must now discipline ourselves to just as persistently normalize our operations in a timely way."
Churchill, Baruch, Lindsay Lohan, Congress and the Fed
Remarks at the Institute of International Bankers Annual Washington Conference
March 7, 2011
"I argued against the $600 billion extension [buying U.S. Treasuries] the voters on the FOMC approved last November. And I remain doubtful enough as to its efficacy that if at any time between now and June, it should prove demonstrably counterproductive, I will vote to curtail or perhaps discontinue it."
The Limits of Monetary Policy: 'Monetary Policy Responsibility Cannot Substitute for Government Irresponsibility'
Remarks before a luncheon meeting of the Manhattan Institute and e21
New York City
January 12, 2011
"The key to correcting the underperformance of the American economy and American job creation does not rest with the Federal Reserve. It is in the hands of those who make fiscal and regulatory policy."
Recent Decisions of the Federal Open Market Committee: A Bridge to Fiscal Sanity?
(Acknowledging Henry B. Gonzalez and Winston Churchill)
Remarks before the Association for Financial Professionals
San Antonio, Texas
November 8, 2010
"In sum, I asked that the FOMC consider that we might be prescribing the wrong medicine for the ailment from which our economy is suffering. Liquidity and abundant money are not the binding constraints on the economic activity we wish to see."
Rangers, Yankees and Federal Open Market Committee: One Game at a Time
Remarks before the New York Association for Business Economics
New York, N.Y.
October 19, 2010
"So, what will we likely decide at the next FOMC meeting? As with the American League championship, you'll find out when it's over and only then."
Observations on the U.S. Economy: Need the Fed Do More?
(With Reference to Elvis Costello, Clarence Day, Narayana Kocherlakota and Bernard Baruch)
Remarks before the Vancouver Board of Trade
Vancouver, British Columbia
October 1, 2010
"Without exception, all the business leaders I interview cite nonmonetary factors—fiscal policy and regulatory constraints or, worse, uncertainty going forward—and better opportunities for earning a return on investment elsewhere as inhibiting their willingness to commit to expansion in the U.S. "
Monetary Policy Going Forward
(Citing Bagehot, Bernanke and Babe Laufenberg)
Remarks before the Greater Houston Partnership
September 1, 2010
"If the fiscal and regulatory authorities are able to dispel the angst that they are reportedly causing, further accommodation may not be needed because the liquidity that has been built up on corporate balance sheets and in the excess reserves of banks might then be released into the economy and spur job creation."
Random Refereeing: How Uncertainty Hinders Economic Growth
(With Reference to Lucky Puppies, Pepper...and Salt, Lawrence Summers and Thomas Jefferson)
Remarks before the Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
San Antonio, Texas
July 29, 2010
"In whatever realm and whatever form, excessive uncertainty is the enemy of economic growth. As Ben Bernanke wrote in 1980, the 'resolution of uncertainty' can lead to '[a business] investment boom.' It follows, then, that if and as regulators and legislators provide more clarity, a major roadblock to economic growth will be removed."
Financial Reform or Financial Dementia?
Remarks at the SW Graduate School of Banking 53rd Annual Keynote Address and Banquet
June 3, 2010
"Let me make my sentiments clear: It is my view that, by propping up deeply troubled big banks, authorities have eroded market discipline in the financial system."
Minsky Moments and Financial Regulatory Reform
Remarks before the 19th Annual Hyman P. Minsky Conference on the State of the U.S. and World Economies
New York City
April 14, 2010
"I think the disagreeable but sound thing to do regarding institutions that are TBTF is to dismantle them over time into institutions that can be prudently managed and regulated across borders. And this should be done before the next financial crisis, because we now know it surely cannot be done in the middle of a crisis."
Lessons Learned, Convictions Confirmed
Remarks before the Council on Foreign Relations
New York City
March 3, 2010
"In theory, the Fed’s monetary policy and regulatory functions are separate. In practice, they are anything but—rather, it is a symbiotic relationship. The past two years have highlighted the interconnections of monetary and regulatory policy: Monetary policy depends upon regulation that ensures the soundness of financial institutions."
Digits and Widgets
(With Reference to a Wise Mother, the Golden Book Encyclopedia, Winston Churchill and Hunter Lawrence)
Remarks before the Austin Chamber of Commerce’s 4th Annual State of Education in Austin Conference
December 8, 2009
"In the world of 'superfine processes' of the Knowledge Age, digits are the new widgets. The brain is to the Knowledge Age and the mastery of digits what the engine was to the Manufacturing Age and the management of widgets. Education is the steam and the oil and the gas that propel that engine. The speed at which we move our economy forward from this point onward will depend on how well we educate our children."
Post-Traumatic Slack Syndrome and the Economic Outlook
(With Thanks to Finn Kydland, Dolly Parton and John Kenneth Galbraith)
Remarks at the Laboratory for Aggregate Economics and Finance
University of California, Santa Barbara
September 3, 2009
"I envision an output path going forward from here that looks something like a check mark, with the Johnny Mercer effect giving us a near-term snapback from the short, intense downstroke, followed by a transition to a long period of slower growth corresponding to the elongated side of the mark."
"A lot of former negatives are being eliminated. We are seeing changes from negative impulses to slightly positive ones. This accentuates the positive in the aggregate. We probably have the beginnings of a faint recovery."
Remarks before the Washington Association of Money Managers
May 28, 2009
"A keen student of the H.4.1 and the Foreign and International Monetary Authority (FIMA) custody holdings reports of the Fed will detect that foreign official holdings of U.S. Treasuries and agencies have been growing at a robust pace, not shrinking."
Back from the Abyss: Now What?
Remarks before the 125th Annual Convention of the Texas Bankers Association
San Antonio, Texas
May 15, 2009
"The most recent reports indicate that job losses may be slowing; trucking companies—a group often looked to as a leading indicator—report a slight pickup in sales; purchasing managers are reporting that the pace of decline in new orders has abated; and retail sales are getting slightly less worse. These are encouraging signs. But we are not out of the woods. We have miles to go before we sleep."
Comments on the Current Financial Crisis
(an Abridged Version)
Remarks before the 2009 Global Supply Chain Conference
Fort Worth, Texas
March 4, 2009
"If, in the process of doing what is right and proper by confining its activity to its singular purpose, the Federal Reserve becomes a 'nuisance,' so be it. The Fed under Paul Volcker's leadership was certainly a 'nuisance,' but you would be hard-pressed to find anyone alive today who would argue the fact that the Volcker Fed pulled the nation from the precipice of economic calamity. It is important that the Federal Reserve be left to do its job and no more."
Albert H. Gordon Lecture: Comments on the Current Financial Crisis
Remarks at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government
February 23, 2009
"It may seem like the stuff of the wildest dreams to imagine our getting ourselves out from our current nightmarish predicament. But I believe we can and we will. We are Americans. I believe deep in my soul that when put to the test, Americans rise to the occasion no matter how great the challenge. We have done it time and again. We have no choice but to do it once more, now."
Storms on the Horizon
Remarks before the Commonwealth Club of California
San Francisco, California
May 28, 2008
"Even the perception that the Fed is pursuing a cheap-money strategy to accommodate fiscal burdens, should it take root, is a paramount risk to the long-term welfare of the U.S. economy. The Federal Reserve will never let this happen. It is not an option. Ever. Period."
The Egocentricity of the Present
(Prefaced by the Tale of Ruth and Emma)
Remarks before a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Community Forum
San Antonio, Texas
April 9, 2008
"In building the bridge to restore financial order and efficiency, my primary interest is to do the minimum necessary to get the job done. And no more. In so doing, my hope is that we restore the long-term faith of the millions of risk takers who make our economy so mighty."
Comments on Stylized Facts of Globalization and World Inflation
Remarks for a panel discussion at the International Symposium of the Banque de France on Globalisation, Inflation and Monetary Policy
March 7, 2008
"In today’s world, where investors can move their funds instantly from one currency to another to avoid depreciation, the price central bankers pay for high inflation is much higher than in the past. Understanding this, you can see why I am a steadfast inflation-fighting owl."
Balancing Inflation and Growth
Remarks before the Society of Business Economists
March 4, 2008
"At present, we simply do not have the ability to adequately account for the impact globalization has on the gearing of our domestic economy. Absent that capacity, we cannot, in my opinion, confidently assume that slower U.S. economic growth will quell U.S. inflation and, more important, keep inflationary expectations anchored."
"Monetary policy acts with a lag. I liken it to a good single malt whiskey or perhaps truly great tequila: It takes time before you feel its full effect. The Fed has to be very careful now to add just the right amount of stimulus to the punchbowl without mixing in the potential to juice up inflation once the effect of the new punch kicks in."
Challenges for Monetary Policy in a Globalized Economy
Remarks before the Global Interdependence Center
January 17, 2008
"...the FOMC does not intend to just squat and wait should economic data and sound risk management signal that monetary accommodation is required."
The U.S. Economy, Globalization and Inflation Measurement
(With Brief References to Brawls, Beer and Bikinis)
Remarks before the Australian Business Economists
November 14, 2007
"Our job has been made more complicated by globalization—the freer flow of goods, services, money, ideas and people across national borders. Its present incarnation owes a great deal to the revolution in information technology. Faster, cheaper and better communications are breaking down barriers to international business and knitting the world's economies closer together faster than Skippy could outsmart a pack of hungry dingoes."
Inflation Measurement and Price Volatility
Remarks Before the Charlotte Economics Club
October 4, 2007
"Those of us responsible for crafting U.S. monetary policy cannot afford to be distracted by the flux of short-term price changes that are destined to be unwound. Our eye should be focused on underlying inflationary pressures, some of which may indeed be coming from food and energy markets. Routinely excluding food and oil price movements from our inflation gauges may have made sense in the 1970s, the 1980s and even the 1990s—but not now, nor in the next few years."
You Earn What You Learn
Delivered to the North Dallas Chamber of Commerce Seventh Annual Real Estate Symposium
September 24, 2007
"The vital capital stock of our modern economy is not our buildings or our factories or our farms. It is our brains. It is our ability to conjure new and better ideas, inventions and solutions. It is our commitment to exceptional customer service. It is our designs for better buildings, faster computers and more successful space flights."
to the Price Measurement for Monetary Policy Conference
Given to a Conference Organized by the Federal Reserve Banks of Dallas and Cleveland
May 24, 2007
"One of our main criticisms here at the Dallas Fed of much of the core inflation literature is that it lacks theoretical coherence. It reminds me of the time-honored saying that an economist is someone who sees something work in practice and then wonders if it can work in theory."
Comments on Current
Remarks to the 2007 Annual Conference of the Investment Adviser Association
April 26, 2007
options would improve the fiscal fitness of our
entitlement system and reduce the need for drastic
action elsewhere in the federal budget. But let's
be honest. These remedies work only because some
people would get less than they are currently
slated to receive. Painful as that may be, the
question is whether other options would be even
Fiscal Issues: From
Here to Eternity
(with Apologies to Burt Lancaster, Deborah Kerr and Donna Reed)
Remarks before the Equipment Leasing and Finance Association
Financial Institutions Conference
April 16, 2007
"Yes, we remain the biggest player on the global stage, but if we fail to get our fiscal house in order, we could bequeath our descendants unconscionable debt and slow the global economy to boot. Is that to be our legacy?"
Confessions of a
Remarks before the New York Association for Business Economics
November 2, 2006
"Globalization brings new influences into the Fed's navigation calculations to determine the best flight path for the U.S. economy. To determine that course ... we must develop a better understanding of the new forces exerting themselves on the aircraft we have been charged with flying. That aircraft no longer flies solely in domestic space, affected soley by domestic factors. Rather, it flies all over the world, requiring more sophisticated navigation instruments to monitor changing global and domestic economic conditions, enabling us to pilot the craft safely and efficiently."
in a Globalized World
Remarks at the HSBC Global Investment Seminar
October 10, 2006
"My point is simply that the committee's wisdom would be enhanced, and the economy would benefit, from having analytical tools to help us build more practicable models than what we currently have to guide our thinking as we make monetary policy in a complicated, reconfigured, globalized world."
A Primer on Inflation
(with Comments on Real Estate in the Metroplex)
Remarks at the 6th Annual Real Estate Symposium, North Dallas Chamber of Commerce
August 30, 2006
"Our current analysis points to an economy at a crossroads. High energy prices, rising interest rates and the slowdown in a red-hot housing market have taken some of the steam out of what had been a fairly robust expansion. At the same time, our current inflation indicators are not presently as well behaved as I would like them to be. Central bankers are always concerned when inflation starts to rear its ugly head. We know from experience that once inflation gains momentum, it becomes harder and harder to stop."
An Update on the
Status of the Economy and Its Implications for Monetary
Remarks for the Annual Joint Luncheon of Commercial Real Estate Women Dallas and North Texas Certified Commercial Investment Members
August 16, 2006
"In determining future policy, my colleagues and I will watch and listen and “taste” the indicators carefully as they come in. And, as we said at the conclusion of our last FOMC meeting, we will act accordingly. If anybody tells you with absolute conviction that the Fed is done raising interest rates or with equal conviction that they have only paused and will raise rates more starting in September or October, remind yourself that at best—and I'm being generous here—they are only guessing."
Remarks at the Fifth Annual Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia Policy Forum
December 2, 2005
"Coddling inflation by monetizing deficits is not an option in a globalized world. It would erode our currency's value and undermine our economy's potential to grow and create jobs."
Warren and Anita Manshel Lecture in American Foreign Policy
Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.
November 3, 2005
"The destruction of communism and the creation of vast new sources of inputs and production have upset all the calculations and equations that the very best economics minds, including those of the Federal Reserve staff—and I consider them the best of all—have used as their guideposts. The old models simply do not apply to the new, real world."
Remarks before The Houston Forum
October 19, 2005
"We have millions of managers in our business community who have become experts at adapting to economic change with breathtaking alacrity. I am talking not just about CEOs but also about middle managers who operate supply chains, control inventories and fine-tune operations in our mighty economic machine. They are an important reason we have succeeded in growing our economy while others—great nations like Japan and Germany—had been stagnant, at least until adopting recent market-oriented reforms."
Nature of Money and the Capillaries of Capitalism
Remarks Before Downtown Waco Inc.
October 6, 2005
"Money flows are an economy’s lifeblood, and the Federal Reserve’s great responsibility lies in maintaining the cardiovascular system of American capitalism. The Federal Reserve’s factory operations—from payments processing to bank regulation to the New York desk’s trading activities—keep open the arteries, veins and even the capillaries of capitalism. We cannot let the equivalent of sclerosis block the arteries and disrupt the workings of the circulatory system. Nor can we let the inflation virus infect the blood supply and poison the system."
A Perspective on
the Economic Outlook
Remarks before the Seventh Annual Economic Forum of the Greater Dallas Chamber
October 4, 2005
"We heard that the pace of economic growth had begun to slow slightly prior to Katrina and that the disruptions from Katrina, and later from Rita, would initially slow growth a bit more. The U.S. economy grew at a 3.3 percent annual rate in the second quarter. Now, most forecasters anticipate growth closer to 3 percent in the fourth quarter. Many of them expect the bounce back from rebuilding the Gulf Coast to begin in early 2006, though the impact will be spread over several years. In the past, this pattern has repeated itself for a wide range of shocks and natural disasters. The one common element has been the resilience and flexibility of our free market economy."