Former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker will be leaving his role in the Obama administration, according to a report from CNBC. Volcker became legendary about three decades ago when he successfully crushed high inflation as Fed chief. As the President took office, he included Volcker, an early supporter of Obama's candidacy, as head of his Economic Recovery Advisory Board. This marks another prominent departure from the President's top economic advisors, and in some ways it could be the most significant yet.
Before reflecting on Volcker's role over the past two years, why would he want to leave? He hasn't said. But at 83 years-old, it certainly would be a reasonable time for him to take it easy. It may only be a semi-retirement, however. CNBC reports that he has offered to continue to advise Obama on an informal, by-request basis. So rather than "so long," he's really saying, "keep in touch."
From early-on Volcker was comfortable voicing relatively controversial positions on banking and finance. In 2009, he loudly advocated for reinstating the Glass-Steagall Act, Depression-era legislation that forbid commercial and investment banking activities at the same firm. It was repealed in 1999. Such views resulted in Volcker appearing to be one of the furthest left of Obama's economic advisors. After all, when Glass-Steagall was repealed, Larry Summers, Obama's National Economic Council director, was the Treasury Secretary.