Hawks and Doves

Back when they called me The Lonesome Dove and some of my best friends were inflation hawks, I wrote a couple of poems to clarify the situation. If interested, you might want to check out some other Rhymes with No Reason on my web site, http://www.bobmcteer.com/.

A Dove with Attitude
Presented at a meeting of the Rotary Club of Dallas, July 21, 2004

DoveLately, I’ve had second thoughts
About doves and hawks.

I wonder what justifies the magnitude
Of the typical hawkish attitude.

Are hawks the magnificent seven
With the keys to central banker heaven?

Can’t doves put their wing tips
on their hips
And also shoot from the lip?

And give hawks the evil eye
As they fly high in the sky?

I don’t want hawkish platitudes;
I greatly prefer a dove with attitude.

Big Al, the Flation Fighter
Bob McTeer wrote this poem to honor (roast) his good friend and colleague, Al Broaddus, retiring president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. He read it at a Conference of Presidents meeting at the Boston Fed on May 25, 2004.

Big Al Broaddus Flation FighterTell me it ain’t so, Big Al.
Tell me the Fed’s #1 inflation fighter,
The top hawk,
The hawk in a room full of hawks,
Tell me our hawk hasn’t gone soft.

Tell me it’s not so, Preemptive Al,
Enemy of pricing power.
Slow to ease,
Quick to tighten.

Lover of transparency
And credibility.
Hater of reciprocal currency arrangements.

Your heart was pure,
Your course was clear.
You were never behind the inflation curve,
You never lost your nerve.

Until lately.

Just as your goal appeared near,
You began to fear
An excess
Of success.

Would disinflation
Go too far
And make you the dog
That caught the car?

The specter of zero bound
Began to hound you
In the middle of the night.

So Big Al, inflation fighter,
You went a bit wobbly.
And began to sound gobbly,

Gobbly being the sound of love
Made by a snow white______. (No, not yet.)

So Big Al, you became deranged.
Your vocabulary changed.
You promised accommodation
For a considerable period.

Again, and again, and again, and again.

And with inflation picking up,
Big Al, the inflation fighter, counseled patience
And then patience once again.
Audacious patience.

Then with patience no longer treasured,
You went along with measured.

What happened to our hawk, Big Al?
I swear by the heavens above
You’ve been sounding more like a ______.

Let’s just say . . .

I’ve found some white feathers
In some of your letters.

Now, Al, I know this is not your version of the story . . .

You’ve spun a web of plausible deniability
Around price level stability.
You say you’re for price stability
No matter which direction the threat.
I guess I’ll have to give you that.

Your hawkish tendencies
Are balanced and symmetrical,
A symmetrical hawk, you bet.

You’re an inflation fighter, par excellence,
And a deflation fighter, too.
And all your colleagues are very proud of you.

Some of us are sometimes right
Some of us are even righter.
But you’re the only one that can be called
Big Al, “Flation Fighter.”

I’d just about forgotten about hawks and doves until last week-end when a dove flew into our too-clean glass window. He was stunned. A hawk, which had been lurking in a tree-top all morning, pounced and flew off with him, leaving only a couple of feathers floating down.

What do you suppose is the meaning of that?

Comments are closed.