Tags: Fisher | Fed | uncertainty | recovery

Fed’s Fisher: Fiscal Uncertainty Hampering Economic Recovery

Tuesday, 18 Sep 2012 10:40 AM

Fiscal uncertainties are hampering recovery in the United States more than anything else, said Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.

The economy continues to grow albeit at a very slow clip, and until businesses know what’s expected of them from the Internal Revenue Service and regulators, expect the economy to plod along as it is today.

“There is some positive growth, but it’s just not robust and here’s the key point, it’s not enough to create the jobs we need in this country,” Fisher told CNBC.

Editor's Note: The Truth About the Economy — Government Documents Lead to Eerie Conclusion

“The real uncertainty stems from what are my taxes going to be? What kinds of spending patterns are going to come out of the federal government? How do I deal with this explosion of regulatory morass that we have coming out of Washington? How do you make a decision, how do you budget, whether you are Exxon or you’re a 20-person company?”

The economy grew a tepid 1.7 percent in the second quarter, while unemployment rates remain stubbornly high, refusing to dip below 8 percent.

Meanwhile at the end of this year, the Bush-era tax cuts are set to expire at the same time cuts to government spending kick in, a combination known as a fiscal cliff that could send the country sliding into a recession next year, though lawmakers have yet to seriously address the matter.

Add to that, new laws such as the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill and the Affordable Care Act carry new regulations and taxes to the point that businesses are putting off expanding and hiring and focusing more on compliance.

“Businesses right now are stymied by uncertainty,” Fisher said, recognizing that Federal Reserve board members disagreed over the costs and benefits of a recent decision to jolt the economy with third round of quantitative easing — asset purchases from banks.

The Fed announced recently plans to buy $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities a month from banks to spur recovery, though many say the move will fuel inflationary pressures while providing little benefit to the economy in return.

“Instead of hammering the Federal Reserve, point your fingers at the Congress.”

While board members may disagree on policy, only one Federal Reserve governor dissented during the recent decision to roll out quantitative easing.

Jeffrey Lacker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, said the move would carry very little benefits at all and apply upward price pressures across the economy.

“I dissented because I opposed additional asset purchases at this time. Further monetary stimulus now is unlikely to result in a discernible improvement in growth, but if it does, it’s also likely to cause an unwanted increase in inflation,” Lacker said in a statement.

“Unemployment does remain high by historical standards, but improvement in labor market conditions appears to have been held back by real impediments that are beyond the capacity of monetary policy to offset.”

The Fed’s decision to roll out a quantitative easing marks the third time monetary authorities have used the tool to spur recovery. Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Fed has injected a combined $2.3 trillion in liquidity buying assets held by banks.

Editor's Note: The Truth About the Economy — Government Documents Lead to Eerie Conclusion

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Fiscal uncertainties are hampering recovery in the United States more than anything else, said Richard Fisher, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas.
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Tuesday, 18 Sep 2012 10:40 AM
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