Dallas Fed CEO says he'll dissent if quantitative easing returns
Richard Fisher, CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, said he's hard-pressed to imagine any type of scenario where he would vote for more quantitative easing by the Federal Open Market Committee. The Fed Bank CEO discussed his wariness of expansionary monetary policies — including the Fed's November decision to purchase $600 billion in Treasury debt — while speaking to the Stemmons Corridor Business Association in Dallas Tuesday. In November, Fisher did not have voting rights to voice his dissent. But he's not shy about saying he opposes the idea of further quantitative easing to stimulate the economy. Fisher and Thomas Hoenig of the Kansas City Fed — who did get to dissent with his vote in November — are on the same page and want the Fed to rein in some of the expansionary policies used during the financial fallout. "By this action, we have run the risk of being viewed as an accomplice to Congress’ fiscal nonfeasance. To avoid that perception, we must vigilantly protect the integrity of our delicate franchise," Fisher said. Fisher added, "Barring some unexpected shock to the economy or financial system, I think we are pushing the envelope with the current round of Treasury purchases. I would be very wary of expanding our balance sheet further." Fisher told the business association that he will stand at the forefront of Fed efforts to tighten monetary policies if and when inflationary pressures move beyond commodities into the general price stream. "I am a veteran of the Carter administration and know how easily prices can spin out of control and how cruelly markets can exact their revenge. I would not want to relive that experience," he said. Fisher added that while the Fed should not partake in further aggressive policies, the responsibility of debt falls squarely on Congress. "The Fed does not create government debt; Congress does. Deficits and the unfunded liabilities of Medicare and Social Security are not created by the Federal Reserve; they are the legacy of Congress," Fisher said. "It seems to me that those lawmakers who advocate 'Ending the Fed' might better turn their considerable talents toward ending the fiscal debacle that has for too long run amuck within their own house." Write to Kerri Panchuk.