In an essay published posthumously on Wednesday, revered former Federal Reserve chief Paul Volcker issued a dire warning about of the rise of “nihilistic forces” in the era of President Donald Trump.
Volcker, who slayed the US inflation dragon in the 1980s, bemoaned Trump’s frequent attacks on the American central bank as “a matter of great concern,” in the essay published in The Financial Times.
“Not since just after the Second World War have we seen a president so openly seek to dictate policy to the Fed,” he said.
Trump has sharply criticized current Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, calling him “clueless” and maintaining a relentless campaign on Twitter for lower interest rates.
The Fed’s policy committee is due to announce its latest rate decision later Wednesday and is expected to do nothing after cutting the benchmark lending rate three times this year.
Volcker, who died Sunday, wrote the piece in September to serve as the afterword to the paperback edition of his autobiography.
Fed chairman from 1979 to 1987, he called on Fed officials and Congress to “maintain the Fed’s ability to act in the nation’s interest, free of partisan political purposes.”
He also warned of “more ominous” threats to the American system that are “more sinister” than simply complaining about big government.
“Nihilistic forces are dismantling policies to protect our air, water, and climate,” Volcker warned.
“And they seek to discredit the pillars of our democracy: voting rights and fair elections, the rule of law, the free press, the separation of powers, the belief in science and the concept of truth itself.”