Jay Hancock understands why Alan Greenspan wouldn't speak forthrightly about the economy while he chaired the Fed: "He didn't want to go down in history as the Federal Reserve boss whose mouth caused a market crash." He also understands why Greenspan is more willing to pipe up now: The old man "wants to make some money after working for the government for nearly two decades. Giving speeches via satellite is an easy way to do so."
What Hancock doesn't get is why so many people are listening:
For many investors, old habits die hard, and the alleged maestro still moves markets whether or not he actually says anything.
On two occasions this year, Greenspan has caused turbulence for stocks….But why is everybody paying attention?
Without the power to create money and steer the world economy, Greenspan is just another forecaster. And not a very good one. His firm, Townsend Greenspan, was famous for making bad forecasts—particularly on inflation—before he joined the Fed.
"Inside that opaque, mush-mouthed gnome lurked an eloquent commentator waiting to get out, and now he's indulging all the urges that he stifled in the 1990s," Hancock concludes. "But it's too late. They don't allow do-overs on Wall Street."
Elsewhere in Reason: Brian Doherty reviews Greenspan's term as wizard-in-chief.