Fed’s Fisher Bemoans 'Lindsay Lohan' Politics

Richard W. Fisher, president of the Federal Bank of Dallas
Jean Ayissi | AFP | Getty Images
Richard W. Fisher, president of the Federal Bank of Dallas

Lawmakers must abandon the habits of 'Lindsay Lohan Congresses' of spending addiction, Richard Fisher, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas, told CNBC.

"(Politicians) have to give up old habits… what I call the 'Lindsay Lohan Congresses' which is excessive addiction to debt spending and shoplifting our children’s future,” Fisher told CNBC at the Frankfurt House of Finance in Germany.

But Fisher said he believes the period of excessive spending is nearing an end.

“We are at a tipping point, we have a new Congress and a new mentality in the executive branch as well,” he said.

“You’re seeing it around in discussions about the debt ceiling, this is nibbling, kind of like ducks, at the edges. Now the question is how far (Congress) will go to solve our long-term, systemic problems, and I think the American public will support them.”

In a speech made on March 7th, 2011, in Washington , Fisher elaborated on his Lindsay Lohan and Congress comparison.

“Like Ms. Lohan, the American Congress is a beautiful creation, blessed with enormous talent,” said Fisher.

“But it has been waylaid by addiction — in the case of the Congress to spending and debt ? and by a proclivity for shoplifting ? in the case of the Congress to pocketing for their immediate gratification the economic future of our children and grandchildren and our grandchildren’s children.”

Getting Liquidity Out of the System

As a result of lessons learned from the crisis of 2008-2009, the Fed has developed a broad toolkit to drain liquidity out of the system, Fisher told CNBC.

“We have substantial assets on our books," he said.

"We have a little under a trillion in mortgage-backed securities left; we have a huge amount of US Treasurys . We could, if we wished to, in order to effect a lesser accommodation, we could sell those securities."

“We also can play or deal with the excess bank reserves that are in on our books. We have 1.3 trillion roughly on our books presently. We can move that rate around which is now 25 basis points. We can work within the repo market, the tri-party repo market.”

“It is very different than it was before the crisis," Fisher added.

"It gives us more options if and when the timing is right, and I won’t comment about when that is.”