Saturday, January 23, 2010

Volcker Was Very Unpopular As A Fed Chairman

People forget that there was also a populist revolt against Paul Volcker when he was Fed Chairman. His tight monetary policies made interest rates were very high (21 percent prime rate). Many economists and the public at the time believed that Volcker's failure to expand the money supply delayed the economic recovery from the 1980-81 recession and caused unemployment and interest rates to remain excessively high. The public often expressed its resentment and disagreement with the Fed's policies.

People protested against the Fed's refusal to grow the money supply, "FED OFFICIALS BOOED IN CHICAGO ON RATES" by Winston Williams, New York Times, June 22, 1981

Fortunately, Reagan did not bow to populist sentiment, supported Volcker and later reappointed him. Volcker is now held in high esteem as an excellent Fed Chairman and Reagan is viewed positively for the way he backed Volcker and allowed him to continue his monetary policies to control inflation and break the stagflation cycle of the 1970s.

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