Paul A. Volcker received the 2012 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Prize on a May 10 ceremony in Washington, DC. The Moynihan Prize is awarded annually to an individual whose career demonstrates the value of informed judgment and the use social research in shaping public policy.
Volcker, Chairman of Federal Reserve system during the Carter and Reagan administrations, was widely credited with ending the inflation crisis of the 1970s through the use of tight monetary policies at the Fed. “I think of Paul Volcker as an ideal winner of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan prize,” said Alice Rivlin, who introduced him at the festivities. “Paul has devoted his extraordinary intelligence and energy to doing very hard things in the public interest over a long career and done it with grace and humility.”
In acceptance remarks, Volcker addressed neither economic concerns nor monetary policy, focusing instead on how to make the executive branch more functional and fully staffed through a less politicized nomination and confirmation process. He called the nomination and confirmation process for senior administration officials “dangerously distorted, inhibiting prompt leadership and effective management” in a time of extreme economic and geopolitical turmoil.
“The nominating process for dozens of presidential nominees subject to confirmation has become full of pitfalls, high hurdles and unanticipated obstacles,” he said, calling on President Obama, Mitt Romney and Senate leadership to come together prior to the November elections to establish a “mutual disarmament pact” around new executive branch appointees.