Speeches by Richard W. Fisher
Speeches on U.S. Economic Trends
A U.S. Economic Update and Perspective on Monetary Policy
(With Reference to Leslie W. Fisher)
Remarks before the Australian Business Economists
November 4, 2013
"Under these circumstances, it is no small wonder American businesses are not expanding and growing jobs at the pace we at the Fed would like to see. It is no small wonder that our economy is growing at a substandard pace compared to previous recoveries. It is no small wonder that the most expansive monetary policy the FOMC has ever engineered has been hampered from accomplishing what it set out to do. In short, while the Fed has been moving at the speed of a boomer in full run, the federal government of the United States has at best exhibited the adaptive alacrity of a koala (without being anywhere near as cute)."
Annus Horribilis or Annus Mirabilis (With Reference to Errol Flynn, Robert Roosa, Queen Elizabeth II, Winston Churchill, Felix Rohatyn and Mick Jagger)
Remarks before the Economic Club of New York
New York City
October 17, 2013
"My heart bleeds for my country, for no amount of monetary accommodation, no conceivable amount of 'large-scale asset purchases,' no clever new monetary innovation by the Federal Reserve can offset the rot that is destroying our fiscal house and the blight it spreads over our economy."
Placing Manufacturing in Context
(With Reference to Frank Sinatra, Joseph Schumpeter, Ernie Preeg,
George Mitchell, Tom Stemberg, a Feckless Congress and … Secretariat)
Remarks before the U.S. Manufacturing Summit
August 22, 2013
"The remaining obstacle to being the absolute best economy for manufacturers and other businesses, bar none, has been fiscal and regulatory policy that seems incapable of providing job-creating manufacturers and other businesses with tax, spending and regulatory incentives to take advantage of the cheap and abundant fuel the Fed has provided."
Horseshift! (With Reference to Gordian Knots)
Remarks before the National Association of State Retirement Administrators 59th Annual Conference
August 5, 2013
"I believe American businesses today are, far and away, the most efficient operators in the world. We have countless businesses in every sector of goods and service production that are the equivalents of the Secretariats, Man o'Wars, Citations, Seabiscuits or any great thoroughbred that has ever graced the track. They just need to be let out of the starting gate."
The Status of the U.S. Economy and a Perspective on ‘The Modern Monetarism’ (With Reference to Sheila Copps, Thomas Jefferson, Paul Volcker and William Shakespeare)
Remarks before the C.D. Howe Institute Directors' Dinner
June 4, 2013
"My staff and I think there is a better-than-even chance that the present GDP growth consensus forecast of 2.4 percent by professional economists may be underestimating the underlying pace of growth."
Fiscal Policy. Oy! (With Reference to Ben Bernanke, Ken Arrow, Thomas Jefferson, William Shakespeare and the Oracle of Omaha)
Remarks at the 2013 National Association for Business Economics Conference
May 16, 2013
"I have advocated that we should begin to reef in the sails, beginning with our MBS purchase program. In my view, the housing market is on a self-sustaining path and does not need the same level of impetus we have been giving it."
(With Reference to Tommy Tune, Nicole Parent, the FOMC, Velcro, Drunken Sailors and Congress)
New York, N.Y.
September 19, 2012
"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."
(With Reference to Wodehouse’s Lead Pipe, Saint Willibrord’s Shuffle, Munch’s Scream and Sarah Bloom Raskin’s Sink)
Remarks before the Austin Chamber of Commerce
December 16, 2011
"If the American dream is to survive, we will need to re-create a fiscal and regulatory environment that—in conjunction with the Fed conducting prudent monetary policy—will liberate the forces of entrepreneurial risk taking that have always been America’s hallmark."
(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."
(With a Nod to the Carl Sewells and Ben Bernanke)
Remarks before the Texas A&M Retailing Summit
October 7, 2011
"We have filled the gas tanks of the economy with affordable liquidity. What is needed now is for employers to confidently step on the pedal and engage the transmission that will use that fuel to move the great job-creating machine of America forward."
Remembering Carol Reed, Aesop's Fable, Kenneth Arrow and Thomas Dewey
Remarks before the Rotary Club of Dallas
July 13, 2011
"We are being challenged as the place to invest job-creating capital. Our fiscal and regulatory authorities do not operate in a vacuum; we live in a globalized, interconnected world where money is free to go to wherever it earns the best return. In their solution to the debt crisis, our political leaders must develop an entirely new structure of incentives for private businesses and investors to put their money to work creating jobs here at home."
(With Reference to the Music of Richard Wagner and Gangsta Rap)
Remarks before New Mexico State University's Spring 2011 Domenici Institute Forum
Las Cruces, New Mexico
May 4, 2011
"So, bottom line: With regard to the economy, like the music of Wagner, the pace of economic growth may not be as bad as it sounds. With regard to inflation, like gangsta rap, it may not be as good as it sounds."
(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."
(With Apologies to W. H. Auden and Gershon Bleichröder)
Remarks before the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth
February 10, 2010
"While it appears urgent, if not agreeable, to use massive public spending to stimulate an economy under duress, an economy cannot sustain long-term growth under the weight of significant fiscal burdens."
(With Lessons Learned from Winston Churchill and Teddy Roosevelt)
Remarks before the Annual Meeting of the Waco Business League
January 12, 2010
"If the Congress is not careful and ends up where it is going in tampering with the independence of the Federal Reserve, it will indeed lead us down the path to the politicization of the central bank of the world’s greatest economy, putting the United States on a road that leads directly to economic ruin."
(With Reference to John Milton and Irving Kristol)
Remarks before the Cato Institute’s 27th Annual Monetary Conference
November 19, 2009
"In the words of Milton, I would say that regulation should be designed to enable financial institutions to be 'sufficient to have stood, though free to fall.'"
(With Reference to William ‘Sidestroke’ Miles, W. Somerset Maugham, Don Ameche and Kenneth Arrow)
Remarks before the Austin Headliners Club
November 10, 2009
September 29, 2009
"I have faith my colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee will stand and deliver in a timely way. And I expect that when it comes time to tighten monetary policy, my colleagues and I will move with an alacrity that, if needed, will be equal in speed and intensity to that with which we pursued monetary accommodation."
September 9, 2009
"As to the Federal Reserve reducing its balance sheet so as not to monetize the excess reserves waiting to be converted to bank loans to the private sector, I have been very clear: Given the lag between the time monetary policy is initiated and when it impacts the economy, that wind-down process needs to begin as soon as there are convincing signs that economic growth is gaining traction and that the lending capacity of the banking system is capable of expansion."
(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."
(With Reference to Errol Flynn, Johnny Mercer, Gary Stern and Voltaire)
July 23, 2009
"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."
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."
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."
Remarks before Tsinghua University’s School of Economics and Management
April 17, 2009
"The Federal Reserve is in the process of acquiring the tools to short-circuit any inflationary consequences of its balance sheet growth."
Remarks before the Japan Center for Economic Research, Institute for International Monetary Affairs and Japanese Bankers Association
April 8, 2009
"But it is clear to me that in this environment, inflation is unlikely to present a serious threat given the pervasive bias in the U.S. economy toward wage cuts and freezes, rising unemployment, the widespread loss in wealth that has resulted from both the housing and equity market corrections, continually declining consumption and business investment, and the anemic condition of the banking and credit system, all of which reinforce downside price pressures in a global economy groaning with excess capacity."
(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."
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."
(With References to Gershon Bleichröder and Central Bank Independence)
Remarks Before CERAWeek
February 9, 2009
"Our senators and congressmen and -women must find a way to give our economic engine an activating short-term jolt without encumbering or disincentivizing the entrepreneurial dynamic that has made for the long-term economic miracle that is America."
(With Reference to Paul Volcker, Washington Irving, Walter Bagehot, Mother Caris, Rube Goldberg and Bismarck)
Remarks before the World Affairs Council of Dallas/Fort Worth and the Dallas Committee on Foreign Relations
December 18, 2008
"We are the nation's central bank and we are duty bound to apply every tool we can to clean up the mess that has soiled the face of our financial system and get back on the track of sustainable economic growth with price stability. The men and women of the Federal Reserve spend every waking hour doing their level best to perform their duty. Even if we have to deploy a little Rube Goldberg engineering to get the task done."
(With Reference to Irrational Exuberance and Virgil’s Aeneid)
Remarks before the Texas Cattle Feeders Association
November 4, 2008
"Despite the efforts of the Fed, the hope that comes with a new presidency, and what will hopefully be responsible and carefully calibrated fiscal initiatives for the Congress, I believe we have an epic challenge ahead of us. We are navigating the mother of all financial storms. We will certainly come out of it with a lesser number of ships than we entered it with, for we cannot and should not 'relieve the rashness of distress that financiers' and other imprudent decisionmakers 'have brought upon themselves.'”
(With Reference to Bob Dylan, Alan Brooke, Washington Irving, Anna Fisher and Marcus Nadler)
Remarks before the Money Marketeers of New York University
New York City
September 25, 2008
Remarks before the Greater Houston Partnership
September 4, 2008
"While it seems pretty clear that economic momentum is slowing, the jury is out on whether lesser momentum will be sufficient to translate into relief on the price front over the intermediate to longer term. In East Texas parlance, 'It might could, but it mightn’t'; it most definitely has not thus far."
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."
(With an Ode to Chicago)
Remarks before the Chicago Council on Global Affairs
April 17, 2008
"The United States, like Chicago, can continue to prosper only if it faces economic change head-on, choosing to compete rather than retreat, seeking out new opportunities in a globalizing economy, where goods, services, money and ideas flow freely across international borders."
(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."
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."
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."
(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."
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."
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."
Remarks before a Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas Community Luncheon
September 10, 2007
Speech in Spanish
"It is fair to say that I am encouraged by what I have heard against a background of constant negative speculation and the occasional discordant note, such as last week's employment numbers. Our economy appears to be weathering the storm thus far. The future path of that storm and the appropriate policy course, however, are still to be determined."
Remarks before the Southern Governors’ Association 73rd Annual Meeting
August 25, 2007
"There is no great secret about how to lay the groundwork for Southern states' success in harvesting and harnessing—in mastering—globalization. The key to adapting to and profiting from globalization lies in education."
Remarks before the U.S.–China Business Council, the Coalition of Service Industries and the American Council of Life Insurers
May 14, 2007
"The service sector may not be as noisy or get as much analytical or political attention as the manufacturing sector, but it has a significant bite in terms of its impact on economic performance.... As we seek to conduct monetary policy, we will have to develop new methods for determining exactly how the service sector's bite affects the business cycle and economic behavior."
Remarks to the 2007 Annual Conference of the Investment Adviser Association
April 26, 2007
"Many 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 more difficult."
Remarks to the Austin Mortgage Bankers Association
April 4, 2007
"The elimination of risk can never be the goal
of any type of policymaker in a capitalist system.
Risk becomes a problem only when it is excessive
or when it is abused—a proposition that is
especially true in today's environment, where
financial markets are increasingly globally integrated
and information moves with the click of a mouse."
Remarks before the Park Cities Rotary Club
February 9, 2007
"At this early juncture in 2007, I think it entirely reasonable to expect the economy to maintain an average pace of 3 percent growth for the year. And, if we at the Fed do our job well, we should be able to accommodate that growth rate while bringing inflation down below 2 percent."
Remarks before the Longview Rotary Club
December 19, 2006
"I do not agree with pundits who argue about whether we can engineer a 'soft landing.' 'Landing' implies stopping. I prefer to say that the Fed’s job is to provide the monetary conditions necessary to pilot our economy at a comfortable cruising altitude and speed while preventing the engine from overheating with inflation. As we look to 2007, I consider this objective to be within reach."
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."
Remarks at a Policy Forum hosted by the El Paso Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas and Monterrey Branch of the Banco de México
Monterrey, N.L., México
September 25, 2006
Speech in Spanish
"As I sit at the FOMC table, I continue to fret more about inflation than I do about growth. While I am well aware of the risks to economic growth, the history of inverted yield curves, and the ever present possibility of exogenous shocks in a politically hazardous world, the “balance of risk,” in my book, is still tilted to the inflation side of the equation."
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 a Community Luncheon hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, San Antonio Branch
Corpus Christi, Texas
June 14, 2006
"Against the background of sustained high prices for oil and gasoline and the inevitable propensity of sellers of goods and services to try to pass on cost increases, the brow begins to furrow in contemplating the inflation picture. On the one hand, I know that the Trimmed Mean PCE Deflator is running at a rate that is just too corrosive to be accepted by a virtuous central banker. But I also know, having been party to it, of the incremental tightenings to which we have been subjecting the base interest rate. And I am fully aware that there is a lag between the time we tighten the valve and the time the impact of that tightening is felt."
Remarks before the Dallas Assembly
May 22, 2006
"Our globalizing economy is not a vintage car. It is more like a 2006 BMW Z4 roadster, fully equipped and Bluetooth enabled. It is a very complex, highly integrated, technologically advanced and brilliantly engineered vehicle that just cannot help exceeding the posted speed limit."
Remarks before the Greater Dallas Asian American Chamber of Commerce
February 23, 2006
"As long as the Federal Reserve does its job of holding inflation at bay, and as long as our political leaders resist protectionism and let the private sector get on with its work, we will remain the world's predominant economic machine."
Remarks before the Little Rock Rotary Club
February 14, 2006
"If we create the conditions to let our private sector do what it does by its very nature—constantly adapt and reposition itself—then we have nothing to fear from competition from our trading partners, including those with whom we presently run big deficits."
Remarks at the Institute of Economic Affairs' 23rd Annual State of the Economy Conference
February 6, 2006
"I posit that China and India and the new players will enhance American productivity and abet U.S. growth, not threaten it. These rising economies will provide sources of inputs American companies can use to drive down costs and increase variety for consumers. They will increase competition—which is good. Competition sharpens the wits and improves muscle tone."
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."
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."
Remarks before the Texas Department of Banking Staff Conference
Saluting Texas Bank Examiners' 100th Anniversary
September 12, 2005
"While Katrina’s damage to Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama is massive, the first-tier macroeconomic hit to the overall economy will be less so. Early estimates are notoriously unreliable. What’s more, we tend to underestimate the inventiveness and cleverness of people and markets to respond to adversity."
Remarks before the Council of Economic Advisors to Utah Governor Jon Huntsman Jr.
Salt Lake City, Utah
July 29, 2005
"China’s emergence will trigger changes to our economy, but they will not come so fast or be so big as to overwhelm us. We will have time to adjust. We have proven time and again that we thrive when we face up to the challenge of vigorous competition."