Thursday, January 10, 2008

Greenspan's Reputation is Under Fire for Past Monetary Profligacy...

So says a Bloomberg article.

"Hailed as perhaps the greatest central banker who ever lived when he left the Federal Reserve in 2006, Greenspan is under attack from critics ranging from the New York Times to economists at the American Enterprise Institute for his handling of the 2000-2005 housing boom... Critics blame his aversion to regulation and reluctance to use interest rates to puncture asset bubbles for the boom in mortgage lending and house prices that has since gone bust, threatening to throw the economy into recession...

Some economists, including [Alan] Blinder, also fault Greenspan for fostering the housing bubble by keeping interest rates too low for too long. The Fed cut its benchmark rate to a 45-year low of 1 percent in June 2003, held it there for a year, then raised it only gradually, in quarter-percentage-point increments... A simulation by Stanford University professor John Taylor suggested that much of the housing boom could have been avoided if the Fed hadn't cut rates so deeply and had raised them back up more quickly. [Alan]Meltzer said that while Greenspan was a ``great Fed chairman,'' he erred in ignoring warnings about the risks of keeping rates low. ``I think he lets himself off much too easy,'' Meltzer said, adding that he told Greenspan at the time that he was exaggerating the danger of deflation and thus making a mistake in cutting interest rates to 1 percent."

If this all sounds familiar then you may be a regular reader of this blog (see here, here, here, and here). The Bloomberg article reminds me of the great song "The Bubble Man" by Scott Peterson.

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