Monday, 25 May 2009

How the Mighty Have Fallen

Alan Greenspan, Master of Snark? The former chairman of the Federal Reserve, whose most trivial utterances were once closely parsed for larger meaning ("Greenspan said some of the cherry trees on his drive to work seemed to be blooming later than usual this year? ... Sell Treasuries! Sell! Sell! Sell!"), appears to have been reduced to ankle-sniping. Richard Posner said he received an e-mail from the Once Great One, complaining about Posner's "rather thin analysis of the source of the current financial crisis."

Follow the link above to read the whole thing. If you want to save yourself some time, here's the version in a nutshell's nutshell:

Greenspan: My monetary policy not to blame for housing bubble; Fed sets only short-term rates which we did raise; trouble is long-term rates on mortgages stayed low and pumped the bubble because the damn Asians were saving too much. Posner: short-term rates do influence long term, the Asians be damned; in any event many homeowners weren't taking out fixed-rate mortgages anyway but rather ARMs, which do track short-term rates, so there.

If I were a ringside judge, I'd give the bout to Posner. Maybe not an outright knockout -- Greenspan lands a light punch to the chin. But that's not the larger point. What I wanted to underscore was what a weird place we've come to in this financial crisis. In the good old days, a surly Greenspan wouldn't have been e-mailing his critics. He towered above all that. He was, well, you know, ALAN FREAKIN' GREENSPAN. He didn't send e-mails to Atlantic magazine writers who run blogs by names such as "The Daily Dish."

Of course now that Greenspan has shown that he's not above chasing heckling fans into the stands, I want to throw down the gauntlet too. That's right, I too want to mix it up with Greenspan. So let's get it on, big guy!

Yep, "Mr." "Greenspan", I too think you SCREWED UP, BIG TIME. Enough namby pamby excuses. Blame the Asians huh? Oh right, the Asians prevented you from regulating the mortgage companies that ran amok. And was that an Asian standing offstage, training a gun on you, warning you to make soothing statements about the housing market or Andrea Mitchell would be dog meat by dawn? Let's see, you warned us about a housing bubble, about, uh, ZERO times?

Okay Greenspan, let's have your best shot. I've cleared out my comment section just for you. Finance Guy awaits your reply. I say what Posner said, only double! Plus I say what I said too! Come on, ya big lug. Take a swing.