Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mr. Greenspan, Surely You Jest

Jaw dropper of the morning ... did anyone else see this quote below? It was in a Washington Post article on Brooksley Born, the smart lady who was ostracized by Washington's high-powered financial regulators after she (presciently) warned that unregulated derivatives could lead to a huge financial mess:

Greenspan had an unusual take on market fraud, Born recounted: "He explained there wasn't a need for a law against fraud because if a floor broker was committing fraud, the customer would figure it out and stop doing business with him."


Wow. I am just flabbergasted, bumbleboozled, speechless beyond the reach of the confines of the English language. I have one comment: Is Alan Greenspan seriously this stupid? I know he's an unrepentant Ayn Rand acolyte, but ... but ... oh my God.

This reminds me of that line about chimpanzees: sure they may look like cute pets; just remember you're getting an ape who can bend steel but who has the intelligence of a five-year-old. Or in Greenspan's case: sure he may look like a cute Federal Reserve chairman (in the right light); just remember you're getting an ape who can cause markets to tumble with the snap of his fingers but who has the wisdom of a four-year-old.