One of those goals has been improvement in the U.S. labor market. "The unemployment rate is down almost a full point from when we start this program in September 2012. We've had faster job growth," he said. "Every jobs report that continues to show more jobs being created and a tick down in the unemployment rate is going to make the probability of a taper go up."
There's been "substantial progress" in job creation, Bullard said, but also noted that inflation remains low. "[So] what's the hurry" to taper the asset purchase program, known as quantitative easing. He would like inflation to head back toward 2 percent.
He also said he sees "room on the balance sheet," which is approaching $4 trillion. "If you look at the size of the balance sheet relative to GDP, who's got the biggest one, Japan, Europe, U.K., U.S.? We're fourth out of those guys," he continued. "If something bad is going to happen ... with the balance sheet, these other central banks should have passed that and already had that experience and they haven't."
But the more hawkish Philadelphia Fed President Charles Plosser, appearing on the show Friday, argued that specific dollar limits should be put on the size of the balance sheet. He'll be a voting member at the Fed in 2014.
Meanwhile, Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher told an Australian economic forum Monday that an ineffective, fractious, and fiscally irresponsible government has slowed the U.S. economic recovery and counteracted the stimulative effects of Fed's super-accommodative monetary policy. Fisher will be a voting member at the Fed next year.
The Fed took no action at its October meeting, after surprising Wall Street in September by not scaling things back, which raised questions about why policymakers teed-up tapering and didn't pull the trigger. "I think we enhanced credibility at the September meeting, because we showed that we were reacting to data," Bullard countered, but said it was a close call.
Explaining the circumstances then, he explained, "The 10 year [Treasury] had gone up to close to almost 300 basis. I think that was a surprise to many on the committee. It's since pulled back, but that was a big issue going on at that time."
The run-up to what turned to be the first government shutdown in 17 years had also been a consideration. But in the end, the 16-day shutdown won't have a big impact on economic growth, he said—warning that the Fed "can't really wait for the political situation in Washington to be just right, because evidently they're going to be bickering forever here."
Monetary policymakers are set to hold their final meeting of the year on Dec. 17 and 18—followed by the release of a summary of their economic projections and what will presumably be the last scheduled news conference from outgoing Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke.