Books: Summing Up Greenspan

In two looks at the Fed chairman, too little insight

When Alan Greenspan merely suggested that he was open to the idea of cutting interest rates a couple of weeks ago, the stock market went wild: the Dow posted its third biggest single-day point gain; the tech-laden NASDAQ truly soared, rising a record 10.5%. Deep into a bear market, was Greenspan trying to stanch the slide?

You could read it that way. His comments prominently mentioned a reverse wealth effect stemming from falling share prices. "Weakening asset values in financial markets could signal or precipitate an excessive softening in household and business spending," Greenspan warned. Such softening could, in turn, lead...

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