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Volcker's voice

September 25, 2009 - Mike Maneval

Back on Sept. 13 I posted an item on financial consolidation, and mentioned among other Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve. He's since keeping busy, or keeping himself busy.

Volcker, who also serves on President Barack Obama's economic recovery advisory board, said during testimony to the House Financial Services Committee Thursday that White House plans leave the enterprises that were "too big to fail" just as large as ever, a condition he acknowledged could lead to future bailouts.

On Sept. 16, reported calls from Volcker to rein in the activities of such banks to minimize those risks, an item of news writer Matt Taibbi used as a launching-pad to argue the Obama administration has largely side-lined Volcker and other figures more critical of Wall Street from input on policy. 

If Taibbi's correct and speaking out in public is the only way Volcker can sound an alarm, I hope he continues to pop up until he gets a bigger policy role. While in the past I've suggested trust-busting as one option in combatting consolidation and making sure the consumer has banking choices, ignoring the problem surely isn't an option. And Volcker has shown himself to be dedicated to addressing the risks of consolidation.


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