Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher, the most quotable of all 19 U.S. central bank officials, steered clear of backing a successor to Ben S. Bernanke. Instead, he said he’d like the chairman to stick around for a third term after his second ends in January.
“I love the guy,” Fisher said in an interview today with Bloomberg Television’s Megan Hughes. “He’s led us very effectively.”
Fisher credits Bernanke for letting policy makers’ disagreements be aired, including his own. The Dallas reserve bank chief, one of the most vocal critics of bond purchases by the central bank, would have liked to have pared the Fed’s $85 billion a month in bond buying a while ago.
“I’m most grateful that he’s tolerated me all these years that he’s been chairman,” said Fisher, who doesn’t vote on the policy-setting Federal Open Market Committee this year. He told Hughes today after a speech in Orlando, Florida, that Congress and President Barack Obama are to blame for holding back manufacturers with ambiguity in regulation and fiscal policy.
“They have been given abundant, super-cheap monetary fuel needed to stoke up their production engines and expand their businesses,” Fisher said in the speech. “What is holding us back” is “fiscal and regulatory policy of the gang that can’t shoot straight in Washington.”
When the chairman eventually does pack up the office after leading the world’s largest economy out of the longest and deepest recession since the Great Depression, “his legacy will be someone who brought about a totally innovative way to conduct central banking,” the former money manager and deputy U.S. trade representative who has led the Dallas reserve bank since 2005 told Bloomberg.
While the final outcome of the Fed’s unprecedented easing won’t be known “until the history books are written,” Fisher said Bernanke’s humility is his greatest legacy.
“As Ben likes to say, central bankers should be like dentists,” Fisher said. “You don’t want to invite them to your dinner party, but you like them to be there when you really need them.”