Greenspan Friend or Foe? Behind Public Image View : LUSENET : TB2K spinoff uncensored : One Thread

This is a reollection from Pierre A. Rinfret. Check his website for more intimate, backgrounds on many politicos.

I first met Alan Greenspan in 1948 when we both attended the New York University School of Commerce, Accounts and Finance. At that time I was the senior fellow in the Economics Department. The run in was a forerunner of his behavior throughout his entire life. But I am not going to bore you with the gruesome details.I have, therefore, known Dr. Greenspan for more than 50 years and I must say that he has always underwhelmed me! I was in the class of NYU before him and our paths crossed innumerable times in our professional careers.

I debated him on many an occasion, we shared many speaking platforms together, we both worked for Richard Nixon in the 1968 and 1972 campaigns as well as in between , we both graduated from NYU undergraduate school and Graduate School and we both ran our own economic and financial consulting businesses. In addition we played golf together more than once with mutual friends.

One of the absolute lies about him is that he retired from his consulting business a wealthy man. Absolutely and totally untrue. When he closed down his economic consulting business to go on the Board of the Federal Reserve he did so because he had no clients left and the business was going under.We even went so far as to try and hire some of his former employees only to find out he had none for the 6 months prior to his closing. When he closed down he did not have a single client left on a retainer basis. His only source of income was his speech making. As a speaker he had to be the ultimate bore exceeded only by Paul McCracken about who Richard Nixon told me on many an occasion "When he talks MEDGO" meaning "my eyes doth glaze over".

He had a horrible record on forecasting the American economy. He missed calling, in advance, every single recession in the entire postwar period with only one exception. He neither called recessions nor expansions for the very simple reason that he has never been one to stick his neck out. In American industry they don't pay consultants for Pablum or for saying what everybody else does!And that is what he has always served up; Pablum.

He denies that he ever was a disciple of Ayn Rand but I heard him laud her right wing extremist theories on many occasions. He was as right wing as they come. Now he denies it because it is no longer policitically correct! And, besides, there is a democrat in the White House!

He was the protege of one Arthur Burns who once said to me that he was pushing Richard Nixon to make Greenspan the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board because the position should be filled by someone that was Jewish, as he was! I never did get the connection but then who would get it?

The driving force that may push Greenspan more than anyone or himself realizes is that he graduated from the "Bronx High School of Science" and that his peers included one Henry Kissinger and other famous (infamous?) politicians of about his age. A classmate of his once said to me that Alan had to prove to them that he was as smart as they were!

He was responsible for the market meltdown of about 25 percent in 1987 because he raised interest rates in a huge series of blundering moves until the market cracked wide open and it looked as if we faced a total meltdown. He and all those in congress have forgotten this horrible blunder on his part.

It was no surprise that interest rates did not go up in 1996 when the last Presidential election took place. Knowing the way politics work and knowing that Alan was up for possible reappointment by President Clinton the worst thing in the world Clinton needed was an increase in interest rates. Knowing Alan he most assuredly promised Clinton that if he was reappointed he would not rise interest rates until AFTER the election (I used to carry messages to Arthur Burns for President Nixon; that is the way it works). Only naive youngsters predicted a rise in interest rates since they are still starry eyed!

Why is he hanging on at about 72 years of age? For the simple reason that he has little if any money, needs the Federal pension and revels in the glory of center stage.

He is living proof that merit does not count but political influence counts far more and gets you further. If you have the impression after having gotten this far that I do not like nor respect Dr. Greenspan then you are correct.

I once called him a political hack in a speech before the Chamber of Commerce in Chicago and I did not retract that statement then or now.

These are the backgrounds of prominent people I have known. The backgrounds may be incomplete or they may be wrong. I am working from memory and the backgrounds I give you are from my personal (not book) knowledge. This is their backgrounds as I knew them.

-- (, March 08, 2000

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