Greenspan: Book Release Day Arrives

I apologize for yet more Greenspan blogging, but today is after all the day

his book is officially released, and there’s loads of material out there worth

linking to. Paul

Krugman is on good form, attacking Greenspan’s support for Bush’s tax cuts,

and he’s ably

supported by Dean Baker. Meanwhile, Blake Hounshell rounds

up the exhausting exhaustive Bloomberg coverage.

But it’s the interviews with Greenspan in the financial press which the most

interesting. In

the WSJ, Greenspan provides a useful Greenspanish-to-English autotranslate

rule: "lots of froths are equal to a bubble," he says, finally using

a word that he would never have uttered in office. And interestingly he’s also

happy opining on foreign policy, even implying that the US should attempt regime

change in Venezuela:

My view of Saddam over the 20 years … was that he was very critically

moving towards control of the Strait of Hormuz and as a consequence of that,

control of the oil market. His purpose would be very much similar to [Venezuelan

President Hugo] Chavez’s actions and I think it would be very dangerous

for us. So getting him out to me seemed a very important priority.

And in

the FT, Greenspan even gets involved in the nuts and bolts of the current

monetary-policy debate, contrasting his view of the growth-verus-inflation tradeoff

with that of Martin Feldstein. Yes, he’s supporting Bernanke. But I’m sure that

Bernanke isn’t really thanking him for his interventions: central bankers should

shut up already on monetary policy after they leave office. This is something

Greenspan knows, as he tells Greg Ip:

The best thing I can do is try to stay away from the sensitive issues where

it gets me second guessing what Ben is doing… I understand and am very

much sensitive to my talking and what for example, my friends at the Fed may

think … and I try as hard as I can to stay away from that.

Pity he seems unable to take his own advice – although I’m hopeful that

once the present blaze of book-related publicity dies down, he might retreat

a little further into his consultancies, and say less in public.

This entry was posted in fiscal and monetary policy. Bookmark the permalink.