Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio was a close friend of former Federal Reserve Chair Paul Volcker, who passed away Sunday at the age of 92, as the billionaire hedge fund titan called him the “greatest American hero I’ve known.”
Dalio had many kind words to say about Volcker in his latest LinkedIn blog post Monday commemorating the man who served six U.S. presidents.
“For the nearly 50 years that I watched him or knew him personally, I found Paul to be a man of unwavering character and capability who put working in the service of our country above all else, always putting doing the right and difficult things ahead of the expedient and partisan things,” Dalio wrote.
“I knew him personally as a man who had great wisdom, humility, and classic heroism in which he sacrificed his well-being for the well-being of others.”
Volcker ran the Fed from 1979 to 1987, and his crowning achievement was called the “Great Moderation” by economists, when he wrangled inflation that was running out of control in the U.S. in the late 1970s and early ’80s, and Dalio witnessed it all.
“In 1979-84, I watched him break the back of inflation, which was essential for our economic system’s survival and required great character to do the right thing under strong criticism because tightening monetary policy meant a lot of people had to suffer a lot.”
Volcker After Leaving the Fed
Dalio said Volcker continued to use his unbiased approach for the benefit of others after leaving the central bank.
“After he left the Fed in 1987, I watched him be chosen to oversee the recovery of Holocaust victim assets from Swiss banks because the world considered him to be the most capable and least biased person to tackle this highly contentious issue.”
Volcker chaired the Independent Committee of Eminent Persons, which eventually found 46,000 Swiss bank accounts that were most likely opened by Jews during the Holocaust.
Dalio added that Volcker was essential in a politically charged United Nations issue later on, all because he was able to cut through the politics and address the issue at hand — even if it meant making tough decisions.
“I watched him take on and handle the highly politically-charged investigation of corruption in the UN oil-for-food program in Iraq, once again because he was the most principled and capable person who everyone believed would do the right things rather than politically expedient things,” Dalio wrote.
But Volcker was not afraid to voice his opinion on current economic affairs, either. In an interview with Dalio back in February, the former Fed chair ripped into President Donald Trump, Congress and policy decisions.
“Too much policy seems to be out of the back pocket today, and God knows what happens tomorrow,” Volcker said in the interview.
Volcker’s approach always seemed to put America first, even until the very end, according to Dalio.
“Even after he knew that he was approaching his end, when we would talk, he never worried about himself as much as he worried about the well-being of our country and those who served it.”