Most Federal Reserve speeches are a chore to make it through. And then there's Dallas Federal Reserve president Richard Fisher. I've had a man crush on Fisher for a while because his remarks are often peppered with a refreshing dose of non-wonky references to things like tequila, Washington Irving and Bob Dylan.
I also appreciate the fact that Fisher is a bit of a contrarian. He is an unabashed inflation hawk who remains concerned about the risks of more stimulus from the Federal Reserve even at a time when long-term bond yields are near historically low levels and few economists are worrying about price pressures outside of those at the gas pump.
But Fisher, who was a voting member on the Fed's policy-setting Open Market Committee last year and dissented with Ben Bernanke and his band of doves several times last year, may have outdone himself with regards to outspokenness in a speech Monday.
Talking to the Dallas Regional Chamber of Commerce, Fisher blasted investors for calling for a third round of quantitative easing, or QE3, by the Fed.
"I am personally perplexed by the continued preoccupation, bordering upon fetish, that Wall Street exhibits regarding the potential for further monetary accommodation—the so-called QE3, or third round of quantitative easing," he said, adding that "trillions of dollars are lying fallow, not being employed in the real economy."
If that weren't enough, Fisher went on to compare investors to sick patients addicted to pain medication.
"Financial market operators keep looking and hoping for more. Why? I think it may be because they have become hooked on the monetary morphine we provided when we performed massive reconstructive surgery, rescuing the economy from the Financial Panic of 2008–09, and then kept the medication in the financial bloodstream to ensure recovery. I personally see no need to administer additional doses unless the patient goes into postoperative decline."
And he didn't stop there.
"I believe adding to the accommodative doses we have applied rather than beginning to wean the patient might be the equivalent of medical malpractice."
Wow. Tell us how you really feel.
Later in the speech, Fisher, who is also a vocal critic of Congress and Washington politics in general, included a link to a video on YouTube that his staff dug up. Fisher said he wanted to "inject some levity into the event" but that "it is hard to do so when one talks about our feckless fiscal authorities." The video makes light of the debt ceiling debate.
"There you have the prevailing modus operandi of our fiscal authorities: pass the bill rather than the American dream to our children. What a sad tale!" Fisher said.
And to think that Barney Frank wants to ban the regional Fed presidents from the FOMC in favor of presidential appointees approved by Congress. For shame. The last thing we need are more bureaucrats handpicked by the "feckless."
It's also clear that Fisher's actor son, Miles, who is a YouTube star in his own right thanks to this spot-on impersonation of Tom Cruise at his Scientology-spouting best in the film "Superhero Movie", inherited his comedic chops from his dear old Dad.