Herman Cain On Alan Greenspan: He’s My Guy

Alan Greenspan.<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/trackrecord/94047272/">Javier</a>/Flickr

Fight disinformation: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter and follow the news that matters.


Toward the tail end of Tuesday night’s WaPo-Bloomberg debate, the Washington Post‘s Karen Tumulty asked Herman Cain who he felt was the most successful Federal Reserve chairman. Cain briskly responded with “Alan Greenspan,” saying that “the way he coordinated with all of the Federal Reserve banks” was admirable. Fellow candidate Ron Paul then (predictably) followed up with a blunt “Alan Greenspan was a disaster.”

Cain’s response warrants a double take: even Alan Greenspan publicly acknowledged that Alan Greenspan was an abject disaster. As David Corn reported three years ago, during a congressional hearing in October 2008, the Reagan-appointed, pseudo-Objectivist Fed chairman admitted that his libertarian worldview didn’t exactly pan out:

With members of the House oversight and government reform committee blasting Greenspan for his past decisions that helped pave the way for the current financial crisis, he acknowledged that his libertarian view of markets and the financial world had not worked out so well. “You know,” he told the legislators, “that’s precisely the reason I was shocked, because I have been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.” While Greenspan did defend his various decisions, he admitted that his faith in the ability of free and loosely-regulated markets to produce the best outcomes had been shaken: “I made a mistake in presuming that the self-interests of organizations, specifically banks and others, were such as that they were best capable of protecting their own shareholders and their equity in the firms.”… Greenspan, one of the more ideological Washington players of the past few decades, essentially said that Ayn Randism had let him—and the entire world—down. It was truly a God that failed.

Along with his self-admitted record of failure, Greenspan, in his 2004 memoir The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, seems to mainly reserve kind words for President Clinton (whom he described as having a “consistent, disciplined focus on long-term economic growth”), while heavily bashing Republican leaders from Richard Nixon to both Bushes. Anyway, read David’s whole piece.

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate