Richard Fisher, president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank, has long been a proponent of serious financial sector reform. As a former commercial banker, he sees quite clearly that the legislation now headed into “reconciliation” between House and Senate versions amounts to very little. He also knows that pounding away repeatedly on this theme is the best way to influence his colleagues within the Fed and across the policy community more broadly.
He is now taking his game to a new, higher level. Couched in the diplomatic language of senior officials, his speech on June 3 to the SW Graduate School of Banking was both a carefully calibrated assault on the administration’s general “softly, softly” approach to the big banks and a direct refutation of arguments put forward by Larry Summers in particular.
As the title of Mr. Fisher’s speech implies, if the legislation is not real financial reform (and it is not, according to him), then our current policy trajectory amounts to facilitating further rounds of financial dementia.