Monday, September 17, 2007

Greenspan's Non-Monetary Opinions

I was going to write this post in a few more days, but given all the hoopla surrounding Greenspan's weekend tour of the media, I think I'll post it today.

Let's face it, Alan Greenspan is an economist. He was a Fed chairman. He's a monetary guy.

Why do we care what he thinks about fiscal policy, more than any other economist who is not a sitting Fed member? Granted, Greenspan is a good economist. But we don't need him to tell us that the Republican Congresses of the past few years failed to restrain spending. And that President Bush might have used his veto more than he did.

I already knew this, Alan.

Frankly, who really cares what he thinks about Congress and the Fed?

And, further, why do I care what Greenspan thinks about Iraq? He happens to agree with Bush, and, therefore, with my own views. But I honestly do not care. He wasn't Secretary of Defense. He was Fed Chairman.

Do I look to Don Rumsfeld to remark on the Open Market Committee's actions? I do not.

Now there's even discussion that Greenspan botched the handling of LTCM. Greenspan is on the record as re-writing his reactions to that debacle. He was never as 'pre-emptive' in his own chairmanship as pundits now criticize Bernanke and his Fed for not being now, amidst a credit market turbulence.

Further, as Joe Kernen remarked pointedly this morning on CNBC, Paul Volcker never did what Greenspan is now doing- breaking silence with his retrospective, and forward-looking, views on the Fed, the economy, etc. Kernen noted Greenspan's response to Leslie Stahl, that he 'has to make a living,' as the reason why he's written the book he is now touting on the talk show circuit.

But, as Kernen further observed, Greenspan doesn't need the money. Both he and his wife, Andrea Mitchell, have done very well in private industry- he as an economics consultant, she as an on-air media personality.

I think Greenspan is doing the country, and himself, a great disservice with his book and outspoken second-guessing of current monetary policies. It seems to me to be a lot of hand-wringing and excitement over nothing.

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