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FY-Eye: The Other Paul Volcker

By Ed O'Keefe

The Eye's readers should make sure to get an "eyeful" of a profile of former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul A. Volcker. It's written by NYU professor and Brookings Institution fellow Paul Light, who expertly recaps the former chairman's appreciation and concern for public service:

Volcker has recognized the importance of a strong civil service. As a charter member of what he calls the "Good Government is Important Society," he has been a steadfast champion of public service. He believes that government should engage in what Alexander Hamilton described as "extensive and arduous enterprises for the public benefit" and that it must have an energetic civil service with the skills and resources for "vigor and expedition" in the faithful execution of the laws.

Volcker has twice led a team of experts to examine the "quiet crisis" in government, what Light describes as "the erosion of capacity that has led to one federal meltdown after another." In 1988, the panel recommended fewer presidential appointees, a simpler, faster hiring process, and a market-based pay system, all warmly received, then forgotten.

The recommendations are still relevant, Light suggests and notes that "President-elect Obama clearly trusts Volcker on the economy; he can also trust him on the public service."

Read the piece here, and let The Eye know what you're reading and seeing by sending an e-mail to

By Ed O'Keefe  | December 3, 2008; 4:45 PM ET
Categories:  FY-Eye  
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