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

Go deeper

Updated 2 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 19,511,596 — Total deaths: 724,590 — Total recoveries — 11,876,387Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 11 p.m. ET: 4,995,369 — Total deaths: 162,461 — Total recoveries: 1,643,118 — Total tests: 61,080,587Map.
  3. Politics: Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid — Democrats slam Trump, urge GOP to return to negotiations
  4. Public health: Fauci says chances are "not great" that COVID-19 vaccine will be 98% effective — 1 in 3 Americans would decline COVID-19 vaccine.
  5. Science: Indoor air is the next coronavirus frontline.
  6. Schools: How back-to-school is playing out in the South as coronavirus rages on — Princeton, Johns Hopkins, Howard to hold fall classes online.

Trump signs 4 executive actions on coronavirus aid

President Trump speaking during a press conference on Aug. 8. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump on Saturday signed four executive actions to provide relief from economic damage sustained during the coronavirus pandemic after talks between the White House and Democratic leadership collapsed Friday afternoon.

Why it matters: Because the Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate federal spending, Trump has limited authority to act unilaterally — and risks a legal challenge if congressional Democrats believe he has overstepped.

10 hours ago - World

What's next for Lebanon after the Beirut explosion

Photo: Houssam Shbaro/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Beirut residents are still clearing rubble from streets that appear war-torn, days after a blast that shocked the country and horrified the world.

Why it matters: The explosion is likely to accelerate a painful cycle Lebanon was already living through — discontent, economic distress, and emigration.