The Fed, Mishkin, and Colonel Flagg

Colonel Flagg (M*A*S*H*): Nobody can get the truth out of me because even I don’t know what it is. I keep myself in a constant state of utter confusion.

Flagg: It’s my trade mark. I’m like the wind: nobody sees me come, nobody sees me leave [Flagg jumps through window]
Hawkeye: The ‘wind’ just broke his leg.

Okay, we’re now descending deep into Colonel Flagg territory with mutterings from the Federal Reserve. This morning capped it, with Fed governor Frederic Mishkin delivering an otherwise opaque speech where the only clear part was where he told people not to pay attention to the speech he was giving. I’m not here! You can’t see me!

Huh? The idea that people aren’t going to pay attention to — and second-guess — what Fed officials say, let alone what they do, is loony. Sure, Mishkin & Bernanke would like to wave everyone off and then settle down to some quiet rate-setting, but that is about as likely as investors deciding that everything is, you know, pretty much fairly priced and taking the month off for some skiing.


As an only tangentially-related aside, why is there no Colonel Flagg highlight reel from the old M*A*S*H show? I miss him so.


  1. My favorite Colonel Flagg quote, after someone grabbed his arm:
    “My father touched me like that once. And to this day, he still wears orthopedic shirts”.

  2. but one of the many reasons that I just acquired the MASH box set. Col. Flagg whenever the heart desires

  3. Josh Stern says:

    The disclaimer was the usual public speaking one for Fed governors that the views expressed are only their own. The speech was dovish, saying, basically, that the Fed should take into account that there is a bigger recession risk than inflation risk because the negative utility of possible recession in the near future is higher than the negative utility of possible inflation in the near future, and also arguing that the time course of credit expansion/contraction might matter more than standard economic models assume.