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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Soon Gone: Greenspan Testifies to Congress

We can discuss the merits of Alan Greenspan as Federal Reserve Chairman--perhaps even if he ought to continue in that capacity after his term expires--but one thing's for certain: Greenspan is the polar opposite of a good public speaker.

The picture is familiar to millions: Sir Alan sits impassively in front of his lawmaking interlocutors wearing his customary red tie, and reads his prepared statement for a couple of minutes in his patented drone. He almost never looks at his listeners until the Q & A session begins. To me, some animation would be welcome. As repetitive as his statements are, they undoubtedly weigh heavy on the state of world markets. They don't call him the second most powerful man in America for nothing. I know it's getting late for him to change, but can't Greenspan make it at least sound interesting?

The Q & A session that follows is equally predictable. Republicans laud their man, and give him attaboys, except when Ron Paul (R-Texas) has the mic. Meanwhile, the Democrats employ their usual guerilla tactics by peppering him with questions regarding the lowered participation of labor; the decline of manufacturing; the ever-widening wealth gap; the Chinese buying up the world; the mind-boggling current account deficit; the housing bubble; etc. While predictable, I pay more attention to the Q & A session. There, Greenspan often lets on that there is more trouble in store than he does in his prepared remarks. I, for one, find that refreshing. We can only hope that his successor is livelier and less obtuse.

Posted by Emmanuel |

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