Stanley Fischer, a former governor at the Bank of Israel, chief economist at the World Bank and deputy managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), was sworn in Wednesday as a member of the Federal Reserve’s board of governors, though Fischer still awaits for approval from the Senate to serve as the central bank’s vice chair.
President Obama had nominated Fischer to succeed Janet Yellen as Vice Chair, who became head of the United States central bank after Ben Bernanke exited earlier this year. The president called Fischer “one of the world’s leading and most experienced economic policy minds.”
The Senate confirmed Fischer’s board nomination last week, but it has yet to complete his confirmation for the No. 2 spot.
The Fed Chair gave the oath of office to Fischer in the special library of the central bank’s quarters in Washington. Fischer’s term as governor will last until Jan. 31, 2020 and he will take part in the next monetary policy meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) next month.
Fischer currently maintains assets totaling more than $56 million and has spent much of his career in academic and government positions. He does have positions and holdings in American Express, General Electric, MasterCard, Toronto Dominion Bank, Berkshire Hathaway and Citigroup.
Indeed, Fischer is an avid supporter of the Fed’s current policy of artificially low interest rates and his general economic and policy viewpoints are similar to that of Bernanke and Yellen – he was Bernanke’s PhD supervisor at MIT.
Here is what Peter Klein wrote on Mises.org:
“Of course, I’m not expecting the Fed to appoint an Austrian economist as Governor. But there are a number of plausible, politically feasible candidates who would have provided balance to Yellen’s somewhat extreme views. John Taylor is the most obvious candidate, along with Glenn Hubbard or even Larry Summers. (OK, maybe Summers is too controversial, politically, and Hubbard was chided for not disclosing all his consulting contracts — though Fischer’s three-year tenure as Vice Chairman of Citigroup didn’t seem to hurt his nomination.) Instead, the Board will add Stanley Fischer to its echo chamber.”
In other words, Fischer will essentially serve as a yes man to Yellen and company.