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Former Fed chair says “we’re in a hell of a mess”

Paul Volcker tells The New York Times he sees a "hell of a mess" in every direction

In an interview (paywall) with The New York Times, former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker says he sees a “hell of a mess in every direction” when it comes to the country, economy and government.

Volcker, who served as the Fed’s chair from August 1979 to August 1987, also told the Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin that he sees a lack of basic respect for government institutions and a current Fed structure that is impacting democracy. 

From the interview:

“Respect for government, respect for the Supreme Court, respect for the president, it’s all gone,” he said. “Even respect for the Federal Reserve.

“And it’s really bad. At least the military still has all the respect. But I don’t know, how can you run a democracy when nobody believes in the leadership of the country?”

Volcker, author of the controversial Volcker Rule, a federal regulation that came from the Dodd-Frank Act that imposes limits on large banks in proprietary investment activities, also sounded an alarm about the country becoming more plutocratic, warning the Times that money has the power to shape the country’s culture and politics.

From the interview:

“The central issue is we’re developing into a plutocracy,” he told me. “We’ve got an enormous number of enormously rich people that have convinced themselves that they’re rich because they’re smart and constructive. And they don’t like government, and they don’t like to pay taxes.”