"Keeping At It," Paul Volcker with Christine Harper, PublicAffairs, 286 pages, $28.
The title of Paul Volcker’s new book, “Keeping At It: The Quest for Sound Money and Good Government,” tells readers quite a bit about the material they are about to consume.
This is not a barnburner; rather, as the name quietly implies, it is a measured, evenhanded review of a career largely spent in public service, including two terms as chairman of the Federal Reserve Board.
Anyone expecting an explicit and full-throated rebuke of current political leadership in Washington or of President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly attacked the Fed, will be disappointed.
Written with Bloomberg Markets editor in chief Christine Harper, there is still a lot of substance, and the absence of bomb throwing gives his message added weight. This is no central banker crying “Wolf!”
When the 91-year-old economist decries the role private interests have played in eroding sound money and good government, he offers plenty of firsthand evidence. Volcker, who is responsible for placing limits on Wall Street risk-taking as part of the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, is unsparing in his criticism of lobbyists as well and takes aim at government agencies for failing to modernize in ways that would allow them to effectively regulate business and protect consumers.
“Keeping At It” is by no means a breezy read, but it has its lighter moments. At a time when Americans have become accustomed to incendiary tweets, hot takes and instant punditry, the author’s unhurried prose may seem quaint, but he ultimately delivers a powerful message.