Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher Is, Seriously, a Shanghai Surprise

Dallas Fed prez Richard Fisher

Following yesterday's stock slide -- down to 11,479.39, a 1.6 percent drop -- more hold-your-breath news this a.m., concerning both housing starts (dismal) and commodities. But as Dallas Fed president Richard Fisher told Dallas' Only Daily on Sunday: "I expect us to have a rough patch here before we pull our socks up."

Fisher, who wants to raise interest rates and likes to speak in colorful metaphors befitting a Robert Earl Keen fan, will also deliver a sort-of state-of-the-economy speech in Aspen, Colorado today; titled "Monetary Policy in a Globalized World," it too is highly anticipated. But yesterday, in advance of his talk, he delivered a warm-up to the Progress & Freedom Foundation during which he wanted to establish his global bona fides -- and wound up workshopping the first scene of his new autobiographical screenplay and/or Harlequin Romance novel.

I may have the longest record of experience with China of anybody in this room, including Chinese nationals. My Australian father and South African-born Norwegian mother sailed out of Shanghai on the S.S. President Wilson just as that port was being closed by Communist revolutionaries in 1948. In a story too long to tell, my parents had been dispatched to collect a dollar payment owed an American company -- the Spazier Chemical and Soap Company. They left Shanghai with more than Spazier’s loot: My mother was with child -- me. I was born the following March, the felicitous by-product of an otherwise fretful stay at the Peace Hotel on the Bund.

I have been asked to speak to you tomorrow about “Monetary Policy in a Globalized World.” Tonight, I establish my bona fides for that talk: I was manufactured by an Australian–South African/Norwegian partnership in China, shipped across the Pacific and on to Mexico for final assembly, and then sent across the border to the U.S. to become one of the innumerable factors that make for a dynamic economy that is uniquely American. You can’t be more globalized than that!

His father will be played by Sean Penn; his mother, by Madonna. --Robert Wilonsky

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Robert Wilonsky
Contact: Robert Wilonsky