If I Were 'Dictator,' QE Would End Now, Fed's Lacker Says
Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker told CNBC on Thursday that if you made him "dictator," the Federal Reserve would stop its massive bond purchases. He added that evidence is "sketchy" on whether the quantitative easing program has actually helped the nation's job picture.
"I wouldn't have gone down this asset-purchase path. I'm in the camp that we should taper and stop right now," Lacker said in a "Squawk Box" interview from the 2013 Credit Markets Symposium in Charlotte, N.C. "You have to prepare markets, if it was up to me, if you made me dictator, that's what I would do."
(Read More: CNBC Explains Quantitative Easing)
The central bank is currently buying $85 billion of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities each month.
The further the Fed goes down the QE route, the trickier the exit process gets, argued Lacker, who said the Fed will err on the side of small steps when tapering purchases. He also pointed out there's a range of views on that exit strategy, and the Fed's minutes have done a faithful job of portraying that debate.
On the jobs front, Lacker predicted an unemployment rate in the low-7-percent range by the end of the year. Over time, the jobless rate will get to the Fed's target of 6.5 percent for considering monetary policy changes, he said.
"I think a reasonable case can be made that path of unemployment wasn't affected much by quantitative easing we've seen over the past few years," he said. "It could be the case that it is lower than it otherwise would be, but I think the evidence is very indirect and very sketchy on this point."
Just 88,000 nonfarm jobs were created last month, but the unemployment rate dropped to 7.6 percent.
While acknowledging the labor market is struggling, Lacker said it's hard to tell how much of the drop is cyclical or secular.
The "decision in or out of the labor force is affected by a whole bunch of things, like disability insurance, unemployment insurance benefits and the like," he said. "I think that's quantitatively taking a significant bite out of the labor force participation."
As for the economy, growth looks to be trending around 2 percent, Lacker said, adding that the longer it stays at these levels, the more enduring the trend will be.
(Read More: Fed's Beige Book: Construction, Cars Boost Economy)
The Fed president said he's been impressed by the stability of inflation and that he's "pretty confident we're not going to let it get away from 2 percent."