By Don Lee
Los Angeles Times
WASHINGTON — Paul A. Volcker, the powerful Federal Reserve chairman whose grit and determination helped break the back of inflation in the early 1980s and put the American economy on a path to extended growth, has died. He was 92.
Volcker's career in economics and public service spanned seven decades and several administrations. In the early 1960s, he served as director of financial analysis in President John F. Kennedy's Treasury Department and a decade later was a principal strategist in the Nixon administration's move to de-link the dollar from gold — a profound shift that led to the collapse of the post-World War II global monetary system known as the Bretton Woods Agreement.
The 6-foot-7-inch Volcker was widely seen as a man of high principles and unwavering fortitude, and organizations including the United Nations sought his leadership or advice on cases involving institutional integrity and public trust.
President Barack Obama tapped Volcker as an economic adviser during his 2008 campaign for president, and shortly after Obama's election victory, Volcker was named to chair the president's outside advisory board to help in the recovery after the Great Recession.
Though Volcker had little direct influence in the Obama White House, he was a vocal critic of the banking industry's culture of excessive risk-taking, pushing to limit the power of big banks and their investment activities.
In 2010, the Obama administration proposed a set of banking regulations that it dubbed the Volcker Rule.
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