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From today’s Washington Post:
It’s been nearly a decade since Greenspan’s stock hit its all-time high with the now-famous Time magazine cover during the Asian financial crisis — the one that featured Sir Alan, Bob Rubin, and Larry Summers as “The Committee to Save the World.” Since the committee disbanded, however, its members haven’t fared so well. Summers managed to get himself hired and fired as Harvard’s president, Rubin helped to steer Citigroup into the ditch, and Greenspan laid the foundation for the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.
Okay, so nobody’s perfect. But instead of acknowledging that he let his free-market ideology cloud his judgment as monetary steward and financial regulator, Sir Alan is out there trying to convince people how much better off they are because of deregulation, globalization and the dramatic booms and busts they have spawned. He reminds me of the politician who, having just been trounced in an election, blames it on the fact that his message “just didn’t get through.”
What’s so remarkable is how Greenspan can spin out his analysis without mentioning his own role in the creation of the massive housing and credit bubbles that got Fannie and Freddie into their current predicaments. Reading or listening to him, you’d never know this was the Fed chairman who kept interest rates too low for too long, who denied that there was a housing bubble until it burst and who refused to use the powers given to the Fed by Congress to prevent abusive practices by mortgage lenders and brokers… Nor would you have an inkling that this was the same regulator who didn’t notice that the banks under his supervision were moving hundreds of billions of dollars of assets into off-balance sheet vehicles for the sole purpose of evading regulatory capital requirements and keeping them hidden from investors.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”