It's Not His Economy

It just seemed that way. Why Alan Greenspan is neither the hero nor the culprit he's made out to be

Larry Downing / Reuters

Chairman of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan listens to a question while testifying before the U.S. House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill in 2005.

He has been out of office for more than a year and a half now--and has spent, by his own account, a notable amount of that time in the bathtub. Yet many Americans still want to believe that Alan Greenspan is in charge of the economy.

In olden times, mainly the late 1990s, faith in Greenspan's omnipotence was expressed almost exclusively in positive terms. He was the "maestro," as Bob Woodward dubbed him in a best-selling book; the senior member of the "Committee to Save the World," as this magazine put it in a 1999 cover story; the Federal Reserve chairman...

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