Volcker’s Rule

Taxation without representation is the catalyst of liberty, causing men to pledge everything for the right of all Americans to pursue happiness, while taxation without legislation is the unjust taking of goods without compensation. 

The takings spread misery, undoing the promise of American life, replacing the reality of progress with the rhetoric of Progressivism, culminating in regression toward the meanness of how we live now—in denial, due to a president who blames greed for inflation.

We need a president with political capital to spend and a Federal Reserve Board chairman with the will to tighten the supply of capital, so the pain of austerity may yield the joy of prosperity. We need leaders, statesmen, and giants, so we may duplicate the success of Ronald Reagan and Paul Volcker.

Any other man with the same name, Paul Adolph Volcker, Jr., would evoke fear in the people, particularly among the peoples of Europe and the Jewish people.

And yet no other man of the last half-century better embodies the informal motto of his alma mater, Princeton in the nation’s service, and our national motto. No other man casts as large a shadow, standing six-feet-seven-inches tall, for no other man has a comparable record of independence in the face of criticism and integrity while facing—and staring down—the forces of capitulation.

No other Democrat seems to hear the trumpet’s call, summoning him to do for his country what his president calls upon his fellow citizens to do for the freedom of man: acting today in order to preserve tomorrow, knowing that the economic ills of two decades will not go away during the life of the current administration; knowing that it is better to emulate John F. Kennedy than to plagiarize him; knowing that Joe Biden lacks the vision to lead us—and the vigor to inspire us—to the edge of Kennedy’s new frontier or the frontier of Reagan’s new federalism.

Because Biden refuses to acknowledge the solution to our problem, no one at the Fed may work to solve the problem of inflation. Not when the cost of doing what works, of what we know works, is unpopular in the extreme.

The cost is punitive for any president, and prohibitively expensive for a president whose popularity is too low to do any good, or: Biden is not Reagan, except perhaps for overlap in cognitive decline, because Biden evinces no memory of Reagan’s courage.

Fifteen days before his first 100 days in office, Reagan let Volcker speak first—at Kansas State University—on Tax Day, where the chairman said, “We have set our course to restrain growth in money and credit. We mean to stick with it.”

One hundred thirteen days later, on August 5, 1981, Reagan had the last word. He fired over 11,000 striking air traffic controllers, saying, “. . . I must tell those who fail to report for duty this morning they are in violation of the law, and if they do not report for work within 48 hours, they have forfeited their jobs and will be terminated.”

Fifteen months later, during the worst recession since the Great Depression, Republicans lost 26 House seats. 

The morning after the 1982 midterm elections, with joblessness at a postwar high, the dream of recovery—the notion that more men and women would go to work than ever before in our country’s history—seemed improbable.

By 1984, a year after Reagan nominated Volcker for a second term, it was “Morning in America.”

A new morning will come, bringing with it recovery and jobs, after Joe Biden loses his.

About Bill Asher

Bill Asher is a writer and retired executive. He lives with his family in Massachusetts.

Photo: Diana Walker/Getty Images

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