I have long been a fan of Paul Volcker, he is now 82 years old and he brings a lifetime of experience and knowledge to any conversation he enters into, personally I can’t listen to him enough, in fact, my one complaint is that he doesn’t get interviewed nearly as often as he should be! Having said that, he is a particularly normal person, he quit being Fed Chairman so that he could ‘return to normal life’ and being in the public eye was never the highlight of his life it would seem.
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Paul Volcker wants to see a return to a split between commercial banks and investment banks, the term ‘bank’ is used so loosely that many people don’t draw distinction between them, they are both involved in financial intermediation but they don’t both necessarily warrant, or indeed merit any federal help. Volcker has kept this theme in today’s NY Times article on the topic of banking.
Sadly it would appear that the regulatory changes are erring in favour of Wall Street over Main Street and while Volcker is always understated about his ability and influence the reality is that he is one of the most knowledgeable aides the president could ask for and failure to seriously implement his ideas flies in the face of reason (and in the face of advice from Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz amongst others). Watch this space!