Former Fed Chair Volcker Rips Trump, Congress in Interview With Dalio
Billionaire Bridgewater founder Ray Dalio sat down for a near-hour-long talk with his personal “greatest living hero,” former Fed Chair Paul Volcker, who said “things in Washington are a hell of a mess” regarding Congress and decisions made by the Trump administration.
Volcker, a Democrat who served in some capacity under Presidents John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, gave an interview with the New York Times in October in which he said the country is descending into plutocracy and the lack of faith in the government is worrisome. The two recounted and expanded upon that statement.
“We have fake news, you don’t know what to believe, you’ve got presidents who don’t seem to mind either personal behavior or making outrageous statements — true or not,” Volcker said. “You have a Congress that’s been unable to function effectively. Hopefully maybe that’ll change a little bit but we’ll wait and see after this past election. But we have not been on a constructive track, I think that’s fair to say.
“Too much policy seems to be out of the back pocket today, and god knows what happens tomorrow. For an old government man like me, it doesn’t look very good. Let’s hope it gets better.”
Volcker, who is 91, also took issue with the speed at which the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act was “rammed through” by Republicans in 2017. The largest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in 30 years took just less than two months to get passed with Republicans controlling the presidency and both chambers of Congress. The 1986 tax code, cited by Republicans in their 2017 overhaul, took nine months from formal introduction until it was actually signed by then-President Reagan.
“We rammed through a massive tax bill,” Volcker said. “Whatever you think about that tax bill, it shouldn’t be rammed through the Congress, without any debates, at midnight on December 31 or whenever it was done, with almost nobody in the Congress having a good idea about what was in the bill, whether you like what’s in the bill or not.
Volcker also called the Trump administration out for its supposed slow pace of government appointments, the quality and qualifications of the appointments and their conflicts of interest.
“The quality of people appointed to cabinet offices or sub-cabinet offices, I think, by any estimation, is not up to scratch,” Volcker said. “When you see a lobbyist for polluting companies named head of the agency for anti-pollution, you wonder about the coherent nature of the appointment, and it’s happening too often.”
Click here to watch the 53-minute interview in full on YouTube.
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