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"Mike and Jon, Jon and Mike—I've known them both for years, and, clearly, one of them is very funny. As for the other: truly one of the great hangers-on of our time."—Steve Bodow, head writer, The Daily Show
"Who can really judge what's funny? If humor is a subjective medium, then can there be something that is really and truly hilarious? Me. This book."—Daniel Handler, author, Adverbs, and personal representative of Lemony Snicket
"The good news: I thought Our Kampf was consistently hilarious. The bad news: I’m the guy who wrote Monkeybone."—Sam Hamm, screenwriter, Batman, Batman Returns, and Homecoming
April 18, 2010
Alan Greenspan: Still A Lying Sociopath After All These Years
Most people would rest on their laurels after creating the greatest economic catastrophe since the Great Depression. And the remaining few might figure that that, PLUS being an enthusiastic supporter of mass murder for oil, would be enough. But not Alan Greenspan.
A few weeks ago Greenspan was interviewed on Bloomberg TV.
GREENSPAN: Everybody missed it—academia, the Federal Reserve, all regulators...
HUNT: I’ve just been reading Michael Lewis’ book. There were people who saw it coming...Why were they so prescient and the people here in Washington were not?
GREENSPAN: Now you have to ask yourself why would they make that judgment. The problem that you’re raising is a statistical illusion...In every crisis, you will always find a group of people after the fact who got it right...
HUNT: So they were just lucky. It was a broken clock, right, price of day with them.
GREENSPAN: Well, let me put it this way, I know most of the people who’ve done well here...they are a handful. People who can consistently call a turning point are very rare. The vast proportion of economists, myself included, have records which are average...
But the problem here is that there’s a failure to understand what would happen, if you took 1,000 people and you split them into two and you had them toss coins against each other, when you get down to the last two guys, tell them that they don’t know how to toss coins.
1. Do you noticed what Alan Greenspan left out here? It's not just he "knows" most of the people who profited off this crisis. HE'S WORKING FOR THE RICHEST ONE. John Paulson made literally billions of dollars by betting against the housing bubble, and hired Greenspan in January, 2008 before everything completely collapsed. (And not just that: Paulson also took a fraction of his billions and endowed an Alan Greenspan Chair in Economics at NYU.)
In other words, either Greenspan just called his boss a man who's not particularly insightful and just got lucky...or Greenspan (and Paulson) know this is the line of crap you have to peddle to the rubes. I'm going to guess it's the latter.
2. Greenspan is conflating two very different things. Yes, it's hard to call when a bubble will collapse, which is necessary to do in order to make lots of money. In fact, if Dean Baker—who'd been pointing out the bubble since 2002—had been a hedge fund manager, he might well have lost all his clients' money by betting that the bubble would collapse before it did. But it's not difficult to know if a bubble exists. And that's what matters for the Chairman of the Federal Reserve.
EXTRA CREDIT: Alan Greenspan is also extremely worried that we won't have the political will to slash Social Security and Medicare.
—Jonathan SchwarzPosted at April 18, 2010 07:16 PM