Obama and Volcker

Two views on the former Fed chairman’s show of support.

By + More

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker has endorsed Barack Obama. Larry Kudlow is shocked (the boldface is ours in both examples):

This is an unbelievable story. Former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker—Mr. Hard Money, anti-deficit, sound financial himself—has endorsed Senator Obama for President.... Once upon a time, many years ago, I was a Volcker speechwriter at the New York Fed. He's a great American. He's a classic conservative. He's a man of fiscal and monetary rectitude. While he was originally appointed Fed Chair by Jimmy Carter, Volcker ultimately teamed up with Ronald Reagan to put the kibosh on runaway inflation. He would not have made this endorsement on a whim. Believe me. He never gets involved in these kinds of political decisions. Is Paul Volcker the new Robert Rubin? Is it possible that Mr. Volcker is somehow tutoring Obama? Is it possible that Obama is more financially conservative than originally believed?

John Tamny of RealClearMarkets thinks Obama could do better:

With not an insignificant amount of fanfare last week, former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker endorsed Barack Obama's presidential candidacy. His endorsement drew more attention than it normally might have in that while Volcker is a lifelong Democrat, his legend is inextricably linked to Ronald Reagan's, and the '80s economic revolution that reversed the U.S.'s flagging economic fortunes. Given Volcker's historical ties to Reagan, some Republicans logically took offense to his seeming apostasy. Their dismay is misplaced. Volcker was never on board with the Reagan economic plan in the way that modern history suggests, and rather than an essential driver of the '80s economic renaissance, a more realistic account of Volcker's early years at the Fed shows that far from a facilitator of pro-growth policies, Volcker's actions nearly derailed Reagan's economic plan and presidency altogether.