New Column: Myths of the Greenspan Era

RealMoneyMy new column is posted at TheStreet.com, titled Myths of the Greenspan Era. Its a modest look at some of the economic urban legends that have
sprung up around Easy Al.

Based on yesterday’s Free Lunch discussion, it includes additional charts and data. Its also much less critical than our analysis back in 2004.

Here’s an excerpt: 

"Myth 1: Greenspan Whipped Inflation: This is by far the most pervasive fallacy of the era. It has added to the
Maestro’s legend — undeservedly so, in my opinion. This is probably the myth
that’s easiest to disprove.

Numerous factors have led to low inflation over the past few decades; none of
them have much to do with Greenspan.

To understand where you are, you must consider how you got here. And when it
comes to whipping inflation, it all begins with Chairman Paul Volcker.

As the chart of long-term interest rates reveals, inflation was spiking in
the late 1970s. The oil embargo of the early ’70s started an inflationary spiral
that threatened the entire economy. Growth was anemic, and Japan was a growing
threat to the industrial heartland. A post-Watergate and post-Vietnam malaise
hung over everything. It was not a particularly joyous period in the U.S. When
Volcker was appointed Fed chairman, inflation was in the double digits, and
growth was stagnant. That combination came to be known as "stagflation."

Fed Chair Volcker aggressively changed the way the Fed attacked inflation. He
forced some unpleasant but necessary monetary medicine down the gullet of the
American economy.

No helicopter drops for Volcker: The first thing he did was idle the Treasury
Department’s printing press. By limiting the growth of money supply — and
abandoning interest rate targeting — he made it clear that no matter how
painful in the short term, he was going to get runaway prices under control.
Inflation, which had peaked at 13.5% in 1981, was down to 3.2% by 1983. The U.S.
has been enjoying the fruits of his labor ever since."

Its on the free Street.com site. Go forth and read!.


>

Source:
Myths of the Greenspan Era
RealMoney.com, 1/31/2006 11:08 AM EST
http://www.thestreet.com/markets/economics/10265345.html

Category: Federal Reserve

Myths of the Greenspan Era

Myths of the Greenspan Era Barry Ritholtz 01/31/06 – 11:08 AM EST http://www.thestreet.com/story/10265345/myths-of-the-greenspan-era.html ~~~ The 18-plus-year tenure of Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan finally comes to an end today. The buildup to his retirement has become the largest love-fest since Woodstock. I won’t review any of the accolades or criticisms that have become so ubiquitous…Read More

Category: Federal Reserve

Will Pixar Bring Magic Back to the Magic Kingdom?

Category: Film

It’s (Still) a Small (Cap) World

Category: Investing, Markets

Free Lunch: Myths of the Greenspan Era

Category: Federal Reserve

Chart of the Week: 10 year Treasury 1974-2006

Category: Federal Reserve, Fixed Income/Interest Rates

The Real Estate Soufflé

Category: Economy, Markets, Real Estate

Weekend Linkfest!

Category: Weblogs

Returning to the Work Force

Category: Employment

About that GDP . . .

Category: Economy