Dec 10, 2019

What Jerome Powell learned from Paul Volcker

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets

Paul Volcker. Photo: Monica Schipper/Getty Images

Former Fed chair Paul Volcker died Sunday at 92 years old, it was announced yesterday. It reminded me of comments current Fed chair Jerome Powell made about him at the National Association for Business Economics conference in October.

Powell said of Volcker: "I don’t think there has been a greater public servant in our lifetimes."

The big picture: Volcker is best known for having the will to drive the U.S. into a recession in order to battle inflation, which he called "the cruelest tax" because of the pernicious way it could hurt the nation's poor and elderly.

  • He served in the Treasury Department under Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon before moving to the Fed.

Background: Powell said he first met Volcker when he was an assistant at the Treasury Department in the early 1990s and that Volcker, despite Powell's then-minimal profile, "couldn’t have been nicer and more interested in helping me and supporting me. He was a great person to know."

  • Since leaving the Fed, Volcker made a point to speak out against corporate greed and on behalf of reining in excesses on Wall Street.
  • He was a strong advocate for common-sense reforms and regulations that benefited regular people at the expense of big business and profits.

Where it stands: After being named Fed chair, Powell was seen numerous times with Volcker's memoir, “Keeping at It: The Quest for Sound Money and Good Government.”

  • "I actually thought I should buy 500 copies of his book and just hand them out at the Fed. I didn’t do that. But it’s a book I strongly recommend, and we can all hope to live up to some part of who he is."

Go deeper: Former Fed chairman Paul Volcker dies at 92

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The latest: George Floyd protests nationwide

Police officers wearing riot gear push back demonstrators outside of the White House on Monday. Photo: Jose Luis Magana/AFP via Getty Images

Protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued for a seventh day across the U.S., with President Trump threatening on Monday to deploy the military if the unrest continues.

The big picture: The National Guard members has been activated in at least 23 states and Washington, DC., with curfews in place in at least 40 cities after days of unrest, per CNN.

2 hours ago - World

The world watches America burn

Newspaper front pages via the Newseum

The world is watching the grief and anger, violence and pain in America's streets.

The big picture: The U.S. accounts for nearly one-third of the world's deaths from COVID-19. The killing of a black man, George Floyd, by police has sparked days of protest and nights of chaos in America's major cities.

Trump walks to historic St. John's Church outside White House as protests rage

President Trump walked to the historic St. John’s Episcopal Church, located just steps away from the White House across Lafayette Park, on Monday night as protests linked to the murder of George Floyd raged across the capital and cities around the country.

What we're seeing: Military police and park rangers used physical force and tear gas on peaceful protestors to clear the area so that Trump could "pay respects" to the church that was damaged by a fire on Sunday.