new wrinkle in the Alan Greenspan Paradox

I am pretty sure I have already described my low level fascination with Alan Greenspan in the 1990s.  It sprang from his “Irrational Exuberance” comment, the fact that the comments were meant to taper down stock market speculation, presumably in a mid-term time-period, yet in the mid-term range — after a short “tapering down” — rose rather spectacularly.  It seemed a paradox to me:  Is this man the most powerful person in our Financial World, or the most Impotent?  The answer was both and neither.

Years later, he finally hit his denoument.  And we get this.

“You had the authority to prevent irresponsible lending practices that led to the subprime mortgage crisis. You were advised to do so by many others,” said Representative Henry A. Waxman of California, chairman of the committee. “Do you feel that your ideology pushed you to make decisions that you wish you had not made?”

Mr. Greenspan conceded: “Yes, I’ve found a flaw. I don’t know how significant or permanent it is. But I’ve been very distressed by that fact.”

“Found a flaw.”  I know what happened.  Alan Greenspan simply forgot to carry the one — about five digits to the right of the decimal point.  Most mistakes are just that simple, just a brief lapse of concentration.  This is why you always show your work.

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