Volcker Steps Down As Obama Overhauls His Economic Team


According to Reuters, Paul Volcker is about to go the way of Larry Summers and Christina Romer. Sources say Obama is expected to announce Friday that the 83-year-old decided to step down as head of a panel of experts advising the president on the economy. Volcker’s camp says he’ll still be willing to advise Obama on an informal basis as often as the president would like. Along with the announcement about Volcker, Obama is expected to announce a new director of the National Economic Council, a role Larry Summers vacated in December to return to Harvard. The front-runner for that position is former Clinton aide Gene Sperling, currently a counselor to Treasury secretary Tim Geithner, who spent his time during the Bush administration both working to address global poverty and advising Goldman Sachs. Obama is also expected to confirm two more regime changes as early as today: William Daley as the White House’s new chief of staff and Pete Rouse back in “at least for a while” as senior adviser.

As a former Federal Reserve chairman, Volcker was legendary in the early eighties for breaking double-digit inflation with a steep interest-rate hike. He came back into prominence in 2008 when he started advising Obama during his campaign. Last year, Volcker had maybe the biggest year for any 83-year-old in America: He got married, he got a rule named after him that won him ire on Wall Street, he tried to distance himself from the watered-down elements of said rule. Despite being credited with limiting industry excess that caused the financial crisis, there was still tension between Volcker and the Obama administration — particularly when it came to his frank speeches on things like value-added tax, which were mistakenly equated with the White House’s position on the issue. If Volcker’s looking to make 2011 count and not fade back into obscurity, more candid comments about the relative impurity of financial reform seems like the way to go.

Exclusive: Volcker to step down from White House panel [Reuters]
Is Larry Summers’ Potential Successor Really a Wall Street Ally? [Mother Jones]
Daley Expected to be Obama’s Chief of Staff [Political Wire]