Legendary Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker has passed away following a battle with prostate cancer. He was 92.
Prior to serving in the Federal Reserve, Mr Volcker held positions at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the Treasury Department, and Chase Manhattan Bank.
Following his appointment by the Nixon administration to the position of Under Secretary of the Treasury for International Monetary Affairs, Mr Volcker worked on the suspension of gold convertibility of the US dollar. That led to the end of the Bretton Woods system of international monetary exchange, which had become increasingly unpopular in the US and around the world.
The stagflation of the 1970s led to Mr Volcker’s greatest triumph. Appointed as chairman of the Federal Reserve by President Jimmy Carter, Mr Volcker put an end to stagflation by pushing interest rates as high as 21.5 per cent. The so-called “Volcker shocks” made him wildly unpopular, but ultimately resulted in substantially lowered inflation.
Volcker was later appointed by the Obama administration to oversee that government’s response to the GFC as head of the President’s Economic Recovery Advisor Board. Mr Volcker called for America’s big banks to be broken up and for more stringent regulations to be placed on financial institutions to prevent them from engaging in high-risk activity.
“Because of Paul Volcker, our financial system is stronger and safer for the American people,” former president Barack Obama wrote on Twitter.
“I’ll remember Paul for his consummate wisdom, untethered honesty, and a level of dignity that matched his towering stature. I’m proud to have called him not just an adviser, but a friend,” he said.
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