The Full Wiki

Alan Greenspan: Map

  
  
  

Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:



Earlier image of Alan Greenspan


Alan Greenspan (born March 6, 1926) is an Americanmarker economist who served as Chairman of the Federal Reserve of the United States from 1987 to 2006. He currently works as a private advisor and provides consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC. First appointed Federal Reserve chairman by President Ronald Reagan in August 1987, he was reappointed at successive four-year intervals until retiring on January 31, 2006 after the second-longest tenure in the position.

Biography

Greenspan was born in 1926 in the Washington Heightsmarker area of New York Citymarker. He was born into a Jewish family. The family of Herbert Greenspan, Alan's father, was of German-Jewish descent. Alan’s mother, Rose Goldsmith was of Polish descent. He is an accomplished clarinet and saxophone player who played with Stan Getz when they were in school together. He studied clarinet at The Juilliard Schoolmarker from 1943 to 1944, when he dropped out to join a professional jazz band. He returned to college in 1945, attending New York Universitymarker (NYU), where he received a B.S. in Economics (summa cum laude) in 1948 and an M.A. in Economics in 1950. Greenspan went on to Columbia University, intending to pursue advanced economic studies, but subsequently dropped out. At Columbia, Greenspan did study economics under the tutelage of future Fed chairman Arthur Burns, who constantly warned of the dangers of inflation. Much later, in 1977, NYU also awarded him a Ph.D. in Economics. Unfortunately, his dissertation is not available from NYU since it was removed at Greenspan's request in 1987, when he became Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board. However, a single copy has been found, and interestingly the 'introduction includes a discussion of soaring housing prices and their effect on consumer spending; it even anticipates a bursting housing bubble'. On December 14, 2005, he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Commercial Science degree by NYU, his fourth degree from that institution.

In the early 1950s, Greenspan began an association with famed novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand that would last until her death in 1982. He wrote for Rand’s newsletters and authored several essays in her book Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. Rand stood beside him at his 1974 swearing-in as Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers.

From 1948 to 1953, Greenspan worked as an economic analyst at The Conference Board, a business and industry oriented think-tank in New York City. From 1955 to 1987, when he was appointed as chairman of the Federal Reserve, Greenspan was chairman and president of Townsend-Greenspan & Co., Inc., an economic consulting firm in New York City, a 33-year stint interrupted only from 1974 to 1977 by his service as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Gerald Ford . In the summer of 1968, Greenspan agreed to serve Richard Nixon as his coordinator on domestic policy in the nomination campaign. Greenspan also has served as a corporate director for Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa); Automatic Data Processing, Inc.; Capital Cities/ABC, Inc.; General Foods, Inc.; J.P. Morgan & Co., Inc.; Morgan Guaranty Trust Company of New York; Mobil Corporation; and The Pittston Company. He was a director of the Council on Foreign Relations foreign policy organization between 1982 and 1988. He also served as a member of the influential Washington-based financial advisory body, the Group of Thirty in 1984.

Alan Greenspan has been married twice. His first marriage was to an artist named Joan Mitchell in 1952; the marriage ended in annulment less than a year later. He dated newswoman Barbara Walters in the late 1970s. In 1984, Greenspan began dating journalist Andrea Mitchell. Greenspan at the time was 58, and the also divorced Mitchell was 20 years younger. In 1997, they were married by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Greenspan and Objectivism

Greenspan was introduced to Ayn Rand by his first wife, Joan Mitchell. Although Greenspan was initially a logical positivist, he was converted to Rand's philosophy of Objectivism by her associate Nathaniel Branden. During the 1950s and 1960s Greenspan was a proponent of Objectivism, writing articles for Objectivist newsletters and contributing several essays for Rand's 1966 book Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal including an essay supporting the gold standard.

During the 1950s, Greenspan was one of the members of Ayn Rand's inner circle, the Ayn Rand Collective, who read Atlas Shrugged while it was being written. Rand nicknamed Greenspan "the undertaker" because of his penchant for dark clothing and reserved demeanor. Although Greenspan was once recognized as a proponent of laissez-faire capitalism, some Objectivists find his support for a gold standard somewhat incongruous or dubious, given the Federal Reserve's role in America's fiat money system and endogenous inflation. He has come under criticism from Harry Binswanger, who believes his actions while at work for the Federal Reserve and his publicly expressed opinions on other issues show abandonment of Objectivist and free market principles. However, when questioned in relation to this, he has said that in a democratic society individuals have to make compromises with each other over conflicting ideas of how money should be handled. He said he himself had to make such compromises, because he believes that "we did extremely well" without a central bank and with a gold standard. Greenspan and Rand maintained a close relationship until her death in 1982.

In a congressional hearing on October 23, 2008 Greenspan admitted that his free-market ideology shunning certain regulations was flawed.

Chairman of the Federal Reserve

On June 2, 1987, President Reagan nominated Dr. Greenspan as a successor to Paul Volcker as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, and the Senate confirmed him on August 11, 1987. After the nomination, bond markets experienced their biggest one-day drop in 5 years. Just two months after his confirmation he was faced with his first crisis — the 1987 stock market crash. Noted investor, author and commentator Jim Rogers has claimed that Alan Greenspan has lobbied to get this chairmanship.

His terse statement that the Fed "affirmed today its readiness to serve as a source of liquidity to support the economic and financial system" is seen by many as having been effective in helping to control the damage from that crash.

His handling of monetary policy in the run-up to the 1991 recession was criticized from the right as being excessively tight, and costing George H. W. Bush re-election. The incoming Democratic president Bill Clinton reappointed Alan Greenspan, and kept him as a core member of his economic team. Greenspan, while still fundamentally monetarist in orientation, argued that doctrinaire application of theory was insufficiently flexible for central banks to meet emerging situations.

Another famous example of the effect of his closely parsed comments was his December 5 1996 remark about "irrational exuberance and unduly escalating stock prices" that led Japanese stocks to fall 3.2%.

During the Asian financial crisis of 1997—1998, the Federal Reserve flooded the world with dollars, and organized a bailout of Long-Term Capital Management. Some have argued that 1997-1998 represented a monetary policy bind — as the early 1970s had represented a fiscal policy bind — and that while asset inflation had crept into the United States, demanding that the Fed tighten, the Federal Reserve needed to ease liquidity in response to the capital flight from Asia. Greenspan himself noted this when he stated that the American stock market showed signs of irrationally high valuations.

In 2000, Alan Greenspan raised interest rates several times; these actions were believed by many to have caused the bursting of the dot-com bubble. In autumn of 2001, as a decisive reaction to September 11 attacks and the various corporate scandals which undermined the economy, the Greenspan-led Federal Reserve initiated a series of interest cuts that brought down the Federal Funds rate to 1% in 2004. His critics, notably Steve Forbes, attributed the rapid rise in commodity prices and gold to Greenspan's loose monetary policy which is causing excessive asset inflation and a weak dollar. By late 2004 the price of gold was higher than its 12-year moving average.

On May 18, 2004, Greenspan was nominated by President George W. Bush to serve for an unprecedented fifth term as chairman of the Federal Reserve. He was previously appointed to the post by Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton.

Greenspan's term as a member of the Board ended on January 31, 2006, and Ben Bernanke was confirmed as his successor.

Alan Greenspan is blamed by the followers of the Austrian School for creating excessive liquidity which caused lending standards to deteriorate resulting in the housing bubble of 2004-2006 and the market meltdown beginning in 2008. Currently the American Federal Reserve follows a modified form of monetarism, where broader ranges of intervention are possible in light of temporary instabilities in market dynamics.

After the Federal Reserve

On February 26, 2007, Greenspan forecast a possible recession in the U.S. before or in early 2008. Stabilizing corporate profits are said to have influenced his comments. The following day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 12,216.24 dropping by 416 points and losing 3.3% of its value, the worst one day loss, at the time, since September 17, 2001, when the Dow Jones lost 684 points (7.1%) after reopening in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

In mid-January 2008, hedge fund Paulson & Co hired Alan Greenspan as an adviser on economic issues and monetary policy. This is the third private role given to Alan Greenspan, the first two being given by Deutsche Bank and bond investment company Pacific Investment Management (PIMCO). Greenspan advises Paulson & Co on economics issues surrounding United States and world financial markets.

Greenspan also counsels on monetary policy and falling housing prices and about a possible recession in the United States. Paulson & Co is famously known for its record profit making during 2007 by conducting bets against mortgage derivatives which earned the firm billions of dollars last year. The financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed and Greenspan must not, under the agreement, advise any other hedge fund manager while working for Paulson.

Greenspan also now works as a private advisor making speeches and providing consulting for firms through his company, Greenspan Associates LLC. Directly following his retirement as Fed chairman, Greenspan accepted an honorary (unpaid) position at HM Treasurymarker in the United Kingdommarker. In May 2007, Greenspan was hired as a special consultant by PIMCO to participate in Pimco’s quarterly economic forums and speak privately with the bond manager about Fed interest rate policy. In August 2007, Deutsche Bank announced that it would be retaining Greenspan as a Senior Advisor to its investment banking team and clients.

He has written his memoir, titled The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, published September 17, 2007. Greenspan says that he wrote this book in longhand mostly while soaking in the bathtub, a habit he regularly employs ever since an accident in 1971, when he injured his back. Greenspan discusses in his book, among other things, his history in government and economics, capitalism and other modes of economies, current issues in the global economy, and future issues that face the global economy. In the book Greenspan criticizes President George W. Bush, Vice President Dick Cheney, and the Republican-controlled Congress for abandoning the Republican Party's principles on spending and deficits. Greenspan's criticisms of President Bush include his refusal to veto spending bills, sending the country into increasingly deep deficits, and for "putting political imperatives ahead of sound economic policies". Greenspan writes, "They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose [the 2006 election]." Of all the presidents with whom he worked, he praises Bill Clinton above all others, saying that Clinton maintained “a consistent, disciplined focus on long-term economic growth.” Although he respected what he saw as Richard Nixon's immense intelligence, Greenspan found him to be "sadly paranoid, misanthropic and cynical." He said of Gerald Ford that he "was as close to normal as you get in a president, but he was never elected."

Housing bubble

In the wake of the subprime mortgage and credit crisis in 2007, Greenspan admitted that there was a bubble in the US housing market, warning in 2007 of "large double digit declines" in home values "larger than most people expect." However, Greenspan also noted, "I really didn't get it until very late in 2005 and 2006."

Greenspan admitted that the housing bubble was “fundamentally engendered by the decline in real long-term interest rates”, though he also claims that long-term interest rates are beyond the control of central banks because "the market value of global long-term securities is approaching $100 trillion" and thus these and other asset markets are large enough that they "now swamp the resources of central banks."

Following the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Federal Open Market Committee voted to reduce the federal funds rate from 3.5% to 3.0%. Then, after the accounting scandals of 2002, the Fed dropped the federal funds rate from then current 1.25% to 1.00%. Greenspan acknowledged that this drop in rates would have the effect of leading to a surge in home sales and refinancing.
Besides sustaining the demand for new construction, mortgage markets have also been a powerful stabilizing force over the past two years of economic distress by facilitating the extraction of some of the equity that homeowners have built up over the years.
However, Greenspan's policies of adjusting interest rates to historic lows contributed to a housing bubble in the US. The Federal Reserve acknowledges the connection between lower interest rates, higher home values, and the increased liquidity the higher home values bring to the overall economy.
Like other asset prices, house prices are influenced by interest rates, and in some countries, the housing market is a key channel of monetary policy transmission. — Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, September 2005.
In a speech in February 2004, Greenspan suggested that more homeowners should consider taking out Adjustable Rate Mortgages where the interest rate adjusts itself to the current interest in the market. The fed own funds rate was at an all-time-low of 1%. A few months after his recommendation, Greenspan began raising interest rates, in a series of rate hikes that would bring the funds rate to 5.25% about two years later. A triggering factor in the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis is believed to be the many subprime ARMs that reset at much higher interest rates than what the borrower paid during the first few years of the mortgage.

In 2008, Greenspan expressed great frustration that the speech he made on February 23, 2004 was used to criticize him on ARMs and the subprime mortgage crisis, and stated that he had made countervailing comments eight days after it that praised traditional fixed-rate mortgages.

In that speech, Greenspan had suggested that lenders should offer to home purchasers a greater variety of "mortgage product alternatives" other than traditional fixed-rate mortgages. Greenspan also praised the rise of the subprime mortgage industry and the tools which it uses to assess credit-worthiness in an April 2005 speech:

The subprime mortgage industry collapsed in March 2007, with many of the largest lenders filing for bankruptcy protection in the face of spiraling foreclosure rates. For these reasons, Greenspan has been criticized for his role in the rise of the housing bubble and the subsequent problems in the mortgage industry, as well as "engineering" the housing bubble itself:

Stiglitz stated that Greenspan “didn't really believe in regulation; when the excesses of the financial system were noted, (he and others) called for self-regulation — an oxymoron.” Greenspan, according to The New York Times, says he refuses to blame himself. On April 6, 2005 Greenspan called for a substantial increase in the regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac: “Appearing before the Senate Banking Committee, the Fed chairman, Alan Greenspan, said the enormous portfolios of the companies — nearly a quarter of the home-mortgage market — posed significant risks to the nation's financial system should either company face significant problems.” Despite this, Greenspan still claims to be a firm believer in free markets, although in the 2007 publication of his biography, he writes, "History has not dealt kindly with the aftermath of protracted periods of low risk premiums" as seen before the credit crisis of 2008.

Late 2000s recession

In March 2008, Greenspan wrote an article for the Financial Times' Economists’ Forum in which he said that the 2008-financial crisis in the United States is likely to be judged as the most wrenching since the end of World War II. In it he argued: “We will never be able to anticipate all discontinuities in financial markets.” He concluded: “It is important, indeed crucial, that any reforms in, and adjustments to, the structure of markets and regulation not inhibit our most reliable and effective safeguards against cumulative economic failure: market flexibility and open competition.” The article attracted a number of critical responses from forum contributors, who, finding causation between Greenspan's policies and the discontinuities in financial markets that followed, criticized Greenspan mainly for what many believed to be his unbalanced and immovable ideological suppositions about global capitalism and free competitive markets. Notable critics included J. Bradford DeLong, Alice Rivlin, Richard Werner, Christopher Whalen, Michael Hudson, and Willem Buiter.

Greenspan responded to his critics in a follow-up article in which he defended his ideology as applied to his conceptual and policy framework, which, among other things, prohibited him from exerting real pressure against the burgeoning housing bubble or, in his words, "leaning against the wind." Greenspan argued, "My view of the range of dispersion of outcomes has been shaken, but not my judgment that free competitive markets are by far the unrivaled way to organize economies." He concluded: "We have tried regulation ranging from heavy to central planning. None meaningfully worked. Do we wish to retest the evidence?" The Financial Times associate editor and chief economics commentator, Martin Wolf, responded to the discussion with an article defending Greenspan primarily as a scapegoat for the market turmoil. Several notable contributors in defense of Greenspan included Stephen Roach, Allan Meltzer, and Robert Brusca.

An October 15, 2008 article in the Washington Post analyzing the origins of the economic crisis claims that Greenspan vehemently opposed any regulation of derivatives, and that Greenspan actively sought to undermine the office of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission when the Commission sought to initiate regulation of derivatives. Meanwhile, Greenspan recommended improving mark-to-market regulations to avoid having derivatives or other complex assets marked to a distressed or illiquid market during times of material adverse conditions as seen during the late 2000s credit crisis.

Greenspan was not alone is his opposition to derivatives regulation. In a 1999 government report that was a key driver in the passage of the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000--legislation that clarified that most over-the-counter derivatives were outside the regulatory authority of any government agency—Greenspan was joined by Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Arthur Levitt, and Commodity Futures Trading Commission Chairman William Ranier in concluding "that under many circumstances, the trading of financial derivatives by eligible swap participants should be excluded from the CEA" (Commodity Exchange Act). Other government agencies also supported that view.

In Congressional testimony on October 23, 2008, Greenspan acknowledged that he was "partially" wrong in opposing regulation and stated "Those of us who have looked to the self-interest of lending institutions to protect shareholder's equity — myself especially — are in a state of shocked disbelief." Referring to his free-market ideology, Greenspan said: “I have found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I have been very distressed by that fact.” Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) then pressed him to clarify his words. “In other words, you found that your view of the world, your ideology, was not right, it was not working,” Waxman said. “Absolutely, precisely,” Greenspan replied. “You know, that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.” Greenspan admitted fault in opposing regulation of derivatives and acknowledged that financial institutions didn't protect shareholders and investments as well as he expected.

Political views and alleged politicization of office

Greenspan describes himself as a "lifelong libertarian Republican."

In March 2005, in reaction to Greenspan's support of President Bush's plan to partially privatize Social Security, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid attacked Greenspan as “one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington” and criticized him for supporting Bush's 2001 tax cut plan. Then-Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi added that there were serious questions about the Fed's independence as a result of Greenspan's public statements. Greenspan also received criticism from Democratic Congressman Barney Frank and others for supporting Bush's Social Security plans in favor of private accounts. Greenspan had said Bush's model has "the seeds of developing full funding by its very nature. As I've said before, I've always supported moves to full funding in the context of a private account."

Others, like Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, disagreed that Greenspan was too deferential to Bush, stating that Greenspan “has been an independent player at the Fed for a long time under both parties and made an enormous positive contribution”.

Economist Paul Krugman wrote that Greenspan was a “three-card maestro” with a “lack of sincerity” who, “by repeatedly shilling for whatever the Bush administration wants, has betrayed the trust placed in the Fed chairman”.

Republican Senator Jim Bunning, who opposed Greenspan's fifth reconfirmation, charged that Greenspan should comment only on monetary policy, not fiscal policy. However, Greenspan had used his position as Fed Chairman to comment upon fiscal policy as early as 1993, when he supported President Clinton's deficit reduction plan, which included tax hikes and budget cuts.

Honors

Greenspan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in the United States, by President George W. Bush in November 2005. His honorary titles include Knight Commander of the British Empire, bestowed in 2002 and Commander of the Légion d'honneur (Legion of Honor). In 2006, Greenspan was awarded the Department of Defense Medal for Distinguished Public Service.

In 2004, Greenspan received the Dwight D. Eisenhower Medal for Leadership and Service, from Eisenhower Fellowships. In 2005, he became the first recipient of the Harry S. Truman Medal for Economic Policy, presented by the Harry S. Truman Library Institute. In 2007, Greenspan was the recipient of the inaugural Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medal in Citizen Leadership, presented by the University of Virginia.

See also



References

  1. , page 110


Further reading

  • The Economist (October 15–21, 2005 issue) page 29, "After Alan"


External links



Criticism




Embed code:






Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address
Message