CNBC's Rick Santelli Just Had His Biggest On-Air Blowup In A Long Time, And It Ended With Him Walking Off Air

Rick Santelli had a meltdown on CNBC today.

During CNBC’s “Fast Money Halftime Report,” CNBC reporters Rick Santelli and Steve Liesman, as well as the members of CNBC’s Halftime Report panel, went at it over Fed policy.

Santelli has long been critical of the Fed policy, especially its post-financial-crisis interest-rate policy and large-scale asset purchases, or QE. Liesman is CNBC’s resident Fed watcher.

Santelli, who Glenn Beck credited with starting the modern-day Tea Party, starts to get heated at about 3:00 into the clip below after Liesman begins talking about how the market could express its concern that the Fed is behind the curve on inflation.

Liesman, we should note, had just said that the Fed’s policy is to be behind the curve (i.e., to keep interest rates below what the rate of inflation might otherwise dictate).

To this, Santelli said that of course there wouldn’t be any market signs because the Fed’s policy has created, “a managed setting.”

This debate seems sparked by the New Yorker profile of Janet Yellen, with Santelli at one point asking Liesman, “Do you want to hear social policy from the head of the biggest central bank?”

Josh Brown really got things going after telling Santelli, at about the 5:00 mark, that, “This is one of the biggest non sequitur discussions I think I’ve ever heard.”

Liesman later got Santelli to distill his position fairly simply: higher interest rates would lead to better economic outcomes. The Fed’s current policy stance is the exact opposite of this.

The whole blowup essentially comes down to Santelli disagreeing with the Fed’s policy because it doesn’t allow markets to determine the direction of the economy. In the New Yorker profile, Yellen said, “But the financial crisis really diminished the prestige of those who think that financial market are always efficient and work extremely well.”

Eventually Santelli drops the mic and walks off of the segment.

Watch the whole thing below, it’s pretty great.

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