Monday, December 08, 2008
There's a nice article about former Fed chairman Paul Volcker in today's LA Times with a good deal of background information that helps to explain why he is the way he is.
Volcker grew up during the Depression, raised by a father who taught him one lesson above everything else: Integrity is a person's greatest asset, said Volcker's sister, Virginia Streitfeld. She calls Volcker, who stands 6-foot-7, her "little brother."He'll have his hands full in helping to get the U.S. economy back onto a more solid footing - there's a lot that needs to be "undone" since he passed the Fed chief baton to Alan Greenspan back in 1987.
He is known for practicing what he preaches about the nation living within its means. He travels with one business suit and lives in the same Manhattan apartment that he bought decades ago.
When he was Fed chief, he lived in a modest Maryland apartment and did his laundry on Saturdays at his daughter's house nearby, recalled Marina v.N.Whitman, a University of Michigan economist who has known Volcker for decades.
"Paul is one of the most frugal guys on Earth," Whitman said. "The advice he gives and the way he views the world are entirely consistent with his personal ethics and lifestyle."
He is outraged by executive compensation packages, seeing them as part of a larger breakdown on Wall Street.
"Paul can't imagine anybody wanting or needing that much compensation for consumption purposes," said Whitman, a member of the Group of Thirty. "It probably offends his sense of right and proper."