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Politicians and Special Interests "Are Joined at the Hip"



(p. A15) In August 1979, when Paul Volcker began what would prove to be an eight-year stint as chairman of the Federal Reserve, inflation was running at a rate of more than 11% a year.


. . .


Before Jay Powell and Janet Yellen, before Ben Bernanke and Alan Greenspan, there was "tall Paul," the thrifty, 6-foot-7 career civil servant who smoked cheap cigars and fished for trout with a fly rod. His policy, announced in an extraordinary Saturday press conference just two months after he took office, was the polar opposite of the radical "stimulus" imposed after the downfall of Lehman Brothers in 2008.


. . .


"Good government" and "sound" money are Mr. Volcker's themes, in life as in print.


. . .


Washington in the early 1960s was a "comfortable, convenient medium-sized city," he writes; its law firms were "entirely local and small, occupying maybe a floor or two in a K Street office building." Today the capital is "a very different, unpleasant, place, dominated by wealth and lobbyists who are joined at the hip with the Congress and too many officials. I stay away."

Humility is one of the charms of both the man and his book (written with Christine Harper, editor in chief of Bloomberg Markets). Though his kindergarten teacher, Miss Palmer, saw in young Paul a worrying lack of self-confidence, the grown man stuck to his anti-inflationary guns, let joblessness mount, bankruptcies climb and brickbats rain down. Refusing to flinch, he made the paper dollar, if not actually sound, then respectable. Tall Paul, indeed.



For the full review, see:

James Grant. "BOOKSHELF; The Last Monetary Hero; The Fed under Ben Bernanke opened the monetary spigots; the Fed under Paul Volcker shut them off--and ended an inflation crisis." The Wall Street Journal (Monday, Nov. 26, 2018): A15.

(Note: ellipses added.)

(Note: the online version of the review has the date Nov. 25, 2018, and has the title "BOOKSHELF; 'Keeping At It' Review: The Last Monetary Hero; The Fed under Ben Bernanke opened the monetary spigots; the Fed under Paul Volcker shut them off--and ended an inflation crisis.")


The book under review, is:

Volcker, Paul. Keeping at It: The Quest for Sound Money and Good Government. New York: PublicAffairs, 2018.






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