| BERKELEY, Calif.
BERKELEY, Calif. Oct 8 They are a bit of an odd
couple: the former money manager who has fought for years
against the U.S. Federal Reserve's ultra-easy monetary policies,
and the disciplined economist who has backed those policies
every step of the way.
But Dallas Federal Reserve Bank President Richard Fisher and
Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen have a long-standing
friendship that Fisher reaffirms with a kiss before each central
bank policy-setting meeting and an occasional shared bite to
"She's been very dovish, and I am uber-hawkish, and I expect
that we will disagree going forward," Fisher said in a phone
interview a few hours after the White House said Yellen would on
Wednesday be nominated to succeed the Fed's current chairman,
"We disagree on policy, but she's a good egg," Fisher said.
"I'm happy for her. I think it's a good thing for the Federal
Fisher, a tall Texan, and the diminutive Yellen from
California stand at opposite ends of the policy spectrum.
Yellen is seen as monetary policy dove whose biggest concern
is fighting high unemployment. Fisher is a self-proclaimed
policy hawk, whose overriding focus is on fighting inflation.
Fisher warns regularly about the potential for the Fed's
current policies to stoke future inflation, and says they don't
work very well to boost jobs anyway.
Yellen has said that in times of high unemployment,
improving the labor market should take center stage even at the
risk of some inflation.
Fisher rarely if ever pulls his punches. Last month he
criticized President Barack Obama for "mishandling" the process
of picking the next Fed chair, and earlier this week likened
bickering U.S. politicians to "the three stooges," a reference
to a popular slapstick comedy act.
But on Tuesday Fisher was all praise for Obama's pick to
head the Fed's policy-setting table.
"My affection for her is deep and great... she is honest,
disciplined, thoughtful... a true intellectual," he said. Yellen
"will have the opportunity to change the course of monetary
policy at the appropriate time. If there's anyone who has the
capacity to do that intellectually, it's Janet."
There is one downside, Fisher said, to Yellen's elevation to
They'll no longer be able to exchange their customary kiss
before each meeting.
"It's an exalted position," he said of the Fed chairmanship.
"There's a protocol."