10 Nov 2008

Greenspan Loses His Annual Summer Invitation to Colorado

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Linn and Ari Armstrong, at the Grand Junction Free Press, issue a rejoinder to Alan Greenspan, John McCain, and Barack Obama on behalf of Ayn Rand and the Free Market.

Ayn Rand recognized a common pattern in the growth of political power: The enemies of liberty blame the free market for economic problems caused by government interference, then use those problems as a pretext for yet more political controls. Much of Rand’s prescient novel “Atlas Shrugged” revolves around that cycle.

Now Rand’s critics sound exactly like the villains of Atlas. They wouldn’t attack her if they didn’t recognize her as a barrier to their grand central plans.

Recently Alan Greenspan fueled the Rand hunt. In an Oct. 23 statement to a Congressional committee, Greenspan said he had “found a flaw” in his ideology of “free, competitive markets.”

There’s just one problem with Greenspan’s statement: He practiced no such ideology. For two decades, Greenspan served as chairman of the Federal Reserve, a central planning agency tasked with manipulating the money supply. Greenspan’s flaw is that he long ago abandoned the ideology of liberty.

Two decades before becoming a central planner, Greenspan, while still in association with Rand, warned of the dangers of the Federal Reserve. In a 1966 article, Greenspan noted that, in the late 20s, the “Federal Reserves pumped excessive reserves into American banks.” This “spilled over into the stock market — triggering a fantastic speculative boom.” Sound familiar? Greenspan became the monster he once warned against.

Today’s crisis centers around risky home loans. But were these loans made on a free market? No. Instead, they were encouraged, and in some cases mandated, by the federal government.

Both major candidates for president followed that stock line. While John McCain also blamed unspecified “corruption in Washington,” he emphasized the “greed and mismanagement of Wall Street.”

Barack Obama blamed greed and deregulation, despite the fact that nobody can point to the repeal of a regulation that could have caused the crisis. By contrast, the mechanisms by which government controls caused the crisis are clear.

One Feedback on "Greenspan Loses His Annual Summer Invitation to Colorado"


I’m no Obama fan, but that last paragraph’s not entirely true. In 2004 the SEC implemented (at the request of a certain Henry Paulson, who was running Goldman Sachs at the time) a change in the rules governing how much leverage the investment banks were allowed to have – they tossed it by the board. Without that, the CRA-derived bad debt wouldn’t have been able to balloon to a scale where it could poison the entire financial system.

Of course Mr. Paulson doesn’t want to talk about that.


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