Posted 1 year ago on Aug. 28, 2012, 10:43 a.m. EST by mayda
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The Fed is supposed to minimize unemployment as well as inflation, and before 1979, it tried to achieve some sort of balance between the two goals. But under Volcker and his successor, Alan Greenspan, it's simply aimed for low inflation, regardless of the effect that has on jobs. In fact, Greenspan has asked Congress to relieve the Fed of responsibility for keeping unemployment down. Inflation was high when Volcker took over-13% or so. To get it under control, he tightened the money supply. This brought on a monster recession, the biggest since World War II. Within a year, the prime rate shot up to the unheard-of level of 21.5% (compared to an average of 7.6% for the fourteen previous years). Unemployment peaked at just under 11%. According to author Robert Sherrill, Volcker stated, upon taking office, that "the standard of living for the average American has to decline." Sherrill says Volcker was recommended by David Rockefeller because "Wall Street and the international banking fraternity loved [Volcker]. They hated inflation-bankers don't like to be repaid in money that is softer than the money they lend, even if the softer money makes the economy hum-and they knew that Volcker was mean enough to destroy the economy to save the hardness of their dollars."