Former US Fed Chairman Paul Volcker dies at 92

Former US Fed Chairman Paul Volcker dies at 92

"Paul was as stubborn as he was tall, and although some of his policies as Fed chairman were politically costly, they were the right thing to do", Carter said.

In 2018, when Trump regularly attacked the Fed as "crazy" for raising interest rates, Volcker advised President Jerome Powell to simply ignore the critics.

Powell, who has been heavily criticised by President Donald Trump for keeping monetary policy tight and restricting growth, was past year advised by Volcker to ignore brickbats from the White House.

After the 2008 financial crisis, Volcker led former President Obama's Economic Recovery Advisory Board, and pushed for tighter restrictions on big banks, which sought to ban them from making risky investments, known as the "Volcker Rule".

In 2009, Volcker began serving as key financial advisor to President Barack Obama and faced a whirlwind of financial turmoil, government bailouts and the aftermath of the deepest recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Other borrowing costs followed and the prime rate climbed to a record 20.5 percent by May 1981. Unemployment rose to 11% and the country was plunged into an economic malaise. Angry farmers, struggling with high debts, drove their tractors to Washington and blockaded the Fed's headquarters.

The firm stance paid off, with inflation falling to three percent by 1983.


Volcker, however, later conceded he had made a mistake by ordering such a major squeeze on credit, telling Reuters in 1987 that if he could, "I would have played it different". A U.S. senator demanded that he remove his "neck boot from the economy".

After leaving the Fed, Volcker led a series of expert groups, including one who investigated the UN 's oil - for - food program that had been created to provide humanitarian relief to the United States. He ran a commission to investigate what Swiss banks did with the assets of Holocaust victims during and after World War II. Enron had filed for what was then the biggest bankruptcy in United States history under questions about its finances and accounting practices, and Andersen had signed off on its books. Volcker faced venomous opposition at the depths of the early 1980s recessions, including protests in which construction workers blocked the streets around the Fed's Washington, D.C. building with bulldozers and shipped two-by-fours to Volcker's office. It is the basis of many current financial regulations.

Beginning with his years at the Fed, when he railed against the huge U.S. trade and budget deficits and battled inflation at every opportunity, investors idolised the man.

In the earlier stages of his career, Volcker served as Undersecretary of the Treasury for Monetary Affairs during the early 1970s, and he was subsequently president of the Federal Reserve Bank of NY, according to his resume page on Volcker Alliance's website.

"I don't think there is any feeling or any evidence around at the moment that the economy is suffering grievously from a shortage of money", Volcker testified during his Senate confirmation.

Volcker, who was born in New Jersey in 1927, attended Princeton University, Harvard University and the London School of Economics before joining the Fed as an economist in 1952.

His 44-year-old wife, Barbara, died in 1998 after many years of rheumatoid arthritis. They had two children.

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