Dallas Federal Reserve Bank Chairman and CEO Richard Fisher says housing is bouncing along the bottom and, despite slow growth, he remains opposed to further quantitative easing at the Fed.
Fisher told HousingWire quantitative easing – the process by which the Fed acquired mortgage-backed securities and other assets to loosen fiscal burdens on financial firms – left the financial system with enough liquidity to push forward. Still, funds from those acquisitions are sitting on balance sheets today, suggesting liquidity is not the issue. The real issue, Fisher said, is the state of uncertainty plaguing the nation’s economy due to a lack of clarity over regulations and economic policymaking in Washington D.C.
While Fisher described a slow housing recovery, he sees the post-recession housing slog as one with distinct regional differences.
While addressing a Dallas Regional Chamber crowd Tuesday, Fisher described Texas as a “job creation machine” that managed to maintain a relatively healthy economy and home values that never experienced the wild up-and-dow price swings that plagued other foreclosure-ridden markets.
Fisher said regulatory uncertainty, large welfare states and taxes are driving more residents to Texas and North Texas from U.S. foreclosure havens like California and Michigan.
“We are 99.5% back to our peak unemployment levels in D/FW,” Fisher said.
From peak to trough, the U.S. economy lost 8.8 million jobs, Fisher said. Since then, the nation has regained only 3.7 million positions.
Meanwhile, Texas, which resides in the Eleventh Federal Reserve District that Fisher oversees, lost 432,000 jobs peak-to-trough during the downturn and has already regained those positions, the Fed Chief told the chamber audience.
Fisher stressed once again that too-big-to-fail banks remain a fundamental risk to the economy as long as the institutions’ leaders believe bailouts are a natural consequence of mega bank failures.
The banks, and their hold on the majority of the financial system, also are a burden on smaller players, making it preferable to reduce the mega banks in size, Fisher said.
While the Fed suggested it will keep the federal funds rate near zero through 2014, Fisher continues to personally advocate for a less invasive monetary position across the board.