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Paul Volcker
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Economist
    (September 5, 1927- )
    Born in Cape May, New Jersey
    Chair of the Federal Reserve (1979-87)
    Chair of the Economic Recovery Advisory Board (2009-11)
    He said, 'The greatest strategic error of my adult life was to take my wife to Maine on our honeymoon on a fly-fishing trip.'
    His Washington, DC, apartment was littered with newspapers, cigar butts and fishing flies.
    On weekends, he would haul a suitcase of dirty laundry down to the Virginia home of his daughter, who admitted he was 'just sort of cheap.'
    He said he regretted not speaking out against deregulation of banking and financial markets.
    He said risky financial activities were 'like pornography: you know it when you see it.'
    He said a key part of his job at the Fed was 'to be as boring as possible.'
    He was credited with eliminating the double-digit inflation of the late 70s.
    Comparing him to other Federal Reserve chairmen, Ron Paul said, 'He was more personable and smarter than the others, including the more recent board chairmen Alan Greenspan and Ben Bernanke.'
    He headed the commission that got Swiss banks to pay $1.25 billion to Holocaust victims and their heirs.
    He was chosen by the United Nations to investigate possible corruption in the Iraqi oil for food program.
    He proposed regulations to keep banks from undertaking risky activities such as proprietary trading and sponsoring hedge funds, saying 'If you are going to be a commercial bank, with all the protections that implies, you shouldn’t be doing this stuff. If you are doing this stuff, you shouldn’t be a commercial bank.'
    After the Obama administration dubbed the proposals 'the Volcker rule,' he joked 'The other advantage of it is that if doesn't fly, they can throw me under the bus.'

Credit: C. Fishel


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