Alan Greenspan hung it up today, ending a run as chairman of the Federal Reserve that started in August 1987. What an amazing career, there was a time when I actually stopped work to watch the man present his Humphrey Hawkins testimony to a pack of clueless congressmen, laughing when he answered inane grandstanding questions with the measured, calm, engimatic replies that were so …. Greenspan.
This is a man who could say volumes without saying anything. I met him in 1992 at a breakfast at the Willard Hotel in Washingon. Howard Banks, Forbes’ Washington bureau chief, somehow finagled Greenspan into being the breakfast quest, not an easy thing as the occasion was a semi-annial editorial board meeting of Forbes editors and reporters, all of whom were determined to get the Sphinx to utter some profundity.
For an hour, Greenspan, sligfhtly preoccupied, even grumpy, put up with our questions, said some seemingly sagacious words, then vanished into the morning.
"Did he actually say anything?" I asked Jim Michaels, the editor in chief.
I guess not, even though the discussion was off th record, there was nothing to put on the record.
Anyway, I’ll miss him. His record of being the economic helmsman of this country, was, in my non-economic opinion, steady and stable. Let’s hope Bernanke is half as effective.