Richard Fisher and the “working men and women of America”

This is Richard Fisher, President of Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas:

“We have made rich people richer,” Fisher told CNBC today. “The question is, what have we done for the working men and women of America?”

Fisher was one of the earliest and most outspoken advocates of winding down the bond-buying program…

I had to read the comment a couple of times to make sure that I understood correctly. Fisher actually claims that the fed should scale back monetary easing because it is not doing anything for the “working men and women of America”.

Fisher’s comments are truly bizarre. Most wealthy Americans are still very wealthy (I have no problem with that) – crisis or not – but it is pretty clear that the overly tight monetary policies in the US over the past fives years has been the main cause of the significant increase in US unemployment and in that sense been a massive assault on the “working men and women of America”.

If Richard Fisher seriously wants to do you something for the “working men and women” then he should come out and support to bring back the level of nominal GDP to the pre-crisis trend level. That undoubtedly would be the best “employment policy” anybody could come up with in the present situation. However, I suspect that Fisher is just coming up with random arguments for opposing monetary easing rather than truly caring about the “working men and women of America”. I am not impressed…

employment NGDP


PS I am certainly not claiming to be speaking on behalf of the “working men and women of America” – I just find ludicrous when somebody actually in a position to do something for these people through his actions (opposing monetary easing) is doing exactly the opposite.

PPS I don’t think it should be the job of central banks to hit a certain “employment level” or any other real variable and I find the fed’s “dual mandate” seriously flawed, but it is certainly not the job of central banks to “destroy jobs” either. A proper NGDP level targeting regime will provide the best nominal framework for letting the labour market work in a proper and undistorted way and as such would indirectly ensure the highest level of employment given the structures of the economy.

PPPS I wrote this on a flight to Stockholm. I had been thinking about writing something about Swedish monetary policy or Africa (the topic I will be speaking about in Stockholm today), but you can all blame Richard Fisher for distracting me.

Leave a comment


  1. In the post linked I show, very vividly, how the Fed has not been good to the “working men and women of America”:

  2. Thank you for writing about Richard Fisher this time! He gets away with this kind of extreme nonsense in part because it is not just his own ilk who believe scaling back money printing now is somehow going to help the working person because some rich person supposedly isn’t getting theirs. People here are so convinced that money is not going to get to the people who need it most anyway, that they’d just as soon not print any money at all. How to show that nominal targeting takes care of each economic actor first, before any other aspect of the economy enters the picture?

    • Thanks Becky – I am normally not paying any attention to what Fisher is saying, but this was simply too extreme not to comment on it…and it is maybe good that I don’t respond to all the nonsense that you hear in the global monetary debate.

  3. James in London

     /  May 21, 2013

    Plenty of ammo for shooting the Swedish central bank. I was just looking something up on their website and a prominent part of their 17th April 2013 statement reads thus:
    “The repo rate has been gradually cut to 1 per cent over the past year and monetary policy is currently very expansionary.”

    It’s going to be a long and painful journey for the Swedes now they’ve cleansed their central bank board of expert monetarists.


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