Paul Volcker, former chairman of the Federal Reserve under presidents Carter and Reagan, and former deputy Treasury secretary under President Nixon, is one of the most senior and most highly respected bankers in the world. He’s seen it all: from the end of the gold standard to the oil crisis to the 1981 recession and the Panic of 2008.
When Paul Volcker talks, people listen. What he’s saying now is his gravest warning of all.
As reported in this article, Volcker says “We’re in a hell of a mess.” His reason for this is not the latest economic data, which are not bad. His real concern is political dysfunction.
Volcker knows that the U.S. debt and deficits are out of control. It’s not too late to correct the debt situation, but time is of the essence. What is needed above all is some unity of vision and bipartisan cooperation.
That’s exactly what’s missing. Instead of cooperation, Volcker sees acrimony, lobbyists and swamp creatures from Washington, D.C., making progress impossible. There is no shortage of Washington, D.C., critics these days, but Volcker deserves special attention because he’s an insider and he’s been around longer than almost anyone else of his stature.
Individual investors don’t have the influence of Volcker. It’s difficult for any individual to turn the current fiscal situation around.
This does not mean investors are helpless. It’s not too late to reallocate your portfolio to asset classes that will weather the coming storm.
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