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Economy Stable – Washington Leaders Variable

During the Great Depression, the path-breaking Glass-Steagall legislation accomplished what Volcker proposed. The New Deal reforms also secured individual savers by establishing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). A strong regulatory hand was extremely popular in that desperate time. In 1999, President Bill Clinton and Federal Reserve Board Chairman Alan Greenspan presided over Congressional repeal of Glass-Steagall, setting the stage for the devastating excess that in turn created the severe recession.

Observes of Volcker's initiative initially were pessimistic about success. The extremely long road to passage and implementation does validate that concern. However, during the first weeks alone many banks scrambled aggressively to divest collateralized debt obligations and other risky forms of casino banking.

Volcker held strong cards, including public support for re-regulation. Members of the Chartered Financial Analysts Institute showed 68 percent supported reform.

Underestimating durable Paul Volcker remains unwise, underscored by his lengthy career. He held Treasury Department posts in the Kennedy and Nixon administrations. Later as head of the Fed, he broke the back of devastating inflation.

Trump administration officials urge repeal the Volcker Rule. Opposing this now is vital.

Arthur I. Cyr is Clausen Distinguished Professor at Carthage College and author of "After the Cold War." Contact acyr@carthage.edu

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