Fed chair: Volcker’s life represented ‘highest ideals’ of public service

Paul A. Volcker believed “there was no higher calling than public service,” the current chair of the Federal Reserve said of his predecessor in the position, who died Sunday at age 92.

Current Board Chair Jerome H. (“Jay”) Powell said the life of Volcker, who served as Fed chairman from 1979 to 1987, “exemplified the highest ideals – integrity, courage, and a commitment to do what was best for all Americans. “His contributions to the nation left a lasting legacy,” Powell said in a statement. “I am deeply saddened by the passing of Paul Volcker,” he said.

Volcker was noted for his dogged efforts in the earliest years of his tenure as Fed chair for fighting rampant inflation in the economy by systematically raising interest rates to essentially shock the economy. Following his work at the Fed, Volcker became an economic adviser to then-Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) during his campaign for president. Following Obama’s election as president, Volcker continued as an adviser, counseling the president on a response to the 2008 financial crisis.

The so-called “Volcker Rule” (which generally prohibits banks from conducting certain investment activities with their own accounts and limits their dealings with hedge funds and private equity funds), which was included in legislation passed by Congress in response to the financial crisis, is named for him.

Statement from Chair Powell on the death of Paul A. Volcker