Federal Reserve Chairmen: Famous quotes from the Great Depression to today
( Updated: 09/25/2014 )
On bank oversight, "the Fed is taking a 'belt and suspenders' approach."
– Janet Yellen, current US Federal Reserve Chair Joshua Roberts/Reuters
"How much would you pay to avoid a second Depression?"
- Ben Bernanke, 2006-2014 AP
"Since becoming a central banker, I have learned to mumble with great incoherence. If I seem unduly clear to you, you must have misunderstood what I said." - Alan Greenspan, 1987-2006 Andy Nelson/The Christian Science Monitor
On double-digit Inflation in 1979: "Well, by the standards of a lot of countries, by Latin American standards, it wasn't so bad. "
- Paul A. Volcker, 1979-1987 AP
"The administration does not favor, as a general proposition, government aid to private corporations."
- G. William Miller, 1978-1979 AP
"I'm the fellow who takes away the punch bowl just when the party is getting good."
- William McChesney Martin, Jr., 1951-1970 AP
'''There is no way to turn back the clock and restore the environment of a bygone era. We can no longer cope with inflation by letting recessions run their course.'' - Arthur F. Burns (l.), 1970-1978 AP
“Security rather than opportunity has become more and more a part of our national philosophy.”
- Thomas B. McCabe (c.), 1948-1951 AP
"In whatever quiet moments were available I began to wonder whether the conduct of bankers like myself in Depression times was a wise one. . . . We kept our banks open through these and other crises. But to do so we had to adopt a rough and distasteful credit and collection policy."
- Marriner S. Eccles, 1934-1948 AP
After serving ten years as head of the World Bank: "I'm not everything I ought to be for this job. I had little experience in international banking. I am certainly no linguist, and I never make any speeches." - Eugene R. Black, 1933-1934 AP
On his early years as publisher of the Washington Post, which he bought just weeks after resigning as governor of the Federal Reserve Board: "In two and a half years I have made all the mistakes of a lifetime."
- Eugene Meyer, 1930-1933 AP
Addressing the Indiana Bankers Association on Sept. 20, 1929, 13 months before the Stock Market Crash of 1929: "Many people in America seem to be more concerned about the present situation than the Federal Reserve System is. If unsound credit practices have developed, these practices will in time correct themselves, and if some of the overindulgent get 'burnt' during the period of correction, they will have to shoulder the blame themselves and not attempt to shift it to someone else." - Roy A. Young (c.), 1927-1930 AP
"The Federal Reserve Act with its broad elastic powers, divested of selfishness, guarantees to the future adequate service for every development of business and commerce. It needs no tinkering."
- Daniel R. Crissinger, 1923-1927 Library of Congress
"Right or wrong, the Treasury policies dominated the rate policy of the Board during the [First World War]. Many steps which were taken may have been unsound from an economic point of view, but it should be remembered that war itself is the mo st uneconomic of all processes, for it involves waste and destruction at a large scale."
- William P.G. Harding, 1916-1922 Library of Congress
Addressing the first Federal Reserve Board on April 18, 1928, eighteen months before the Stock Market Crash of 1929: "[I] would not hesitate to vote to increase rates where a speculative movement was interfering or threatening to interfere with business, commerce and agriculture; [I feel] this condition [is] at hand." - Charles S. Hamlin, 1914-1916 Library of Congress
The Wall Street rally after Larry Summers bowed out of consideration to lead the Fed is really about the Fed's stimulus program of 'quantitative easing.' Wall Street wants it to last as long as possible, and Janet Yellen would likely close the spigot more slowly.