Museum of American Finance

2 x 4 Wood Mailed in Protest to Paul Volcker

[Audio tour #658] Paul Volcker served as Federal Reserve Chairman from 1979 until 1987. Volcker’s policies steered the US economy out of a period of high inflation and slow economic growth by severely raising interest rates. During his tenure, Volcker experienced more political attacks and public protests than any other Fed Chairman, mostly due to the effect of his high interest rates on the construction and agricultural industries. In protest, farmers blockaded the main office of the Board of Governors with their tractors. This piece of 2x4 wood was mailed to Volcker’s office as a part of a protest by building contractors and carpenters, who claimed their lumber was unneeded since no one was buying houses. Although Volcker is now widely credited with stabilizing the economy in the 1980s, these protests show the complexities of managing a national economy, as changes in policy are not necessarily universally beneficial.

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