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Commentary Last Updated: Jul 24th, 2008 - 00:29:28

Greenspan: Patron saint of America�s affluentocracy
By Ben Tanosborn
Online Journal Contributing Writer

Jul 24, 2008, 00:17

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No gold watch for Alan Greenspan as he retired from serving the elite -- we can hardly call it public service! After almost two decades as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve, this Robin Hood for the rich and powerful was bestowed, as he was about to step down, the highest honor in the land -- now shrinking in prestige at about the same pace as the United States dollar -- the Medal of Freedom.

Now, two and a half years later, as this nation is mired in a recession which is likely to turn into a prolonged economic disaster, something which Mr. Greenspan almost single-handedly brought about, the laudatory decibels for this low talker, and mumbler, have gone down considerably. Of course, he�ll never lose the admiration and gratitude of those he ended up serving so well: the powerful elite and the aspiring affluentocracy. Americans in those two groups, flag pins on their lapels, still consider him an economic wizard. But more than a wizard, he should be dubbed as the rich man�s Santa Claus.

Wizard . . . what a crock! An accomplished musician turned into a mediocre economist at best, but with the bootlicking capacity of a male courtesan to American presidents, from Reagan to Bush Son. A prestidigitator with a facility for gentle criticism; a coiner of cute names for dire situations; misleader via inappropriate numbers and gobbledygook, Greenspan was not the economic genius Wall Street and government leaders portrayed him to be . . . far from it. He was definitely no economic rainmaker for America, only a charlatan with a dowser! Let�s just say that as inhumane as Shrub�s foreign policy has been towards Palestine and the rest of the Middle East, the former saxophone player�s economic policy has proven to be just as genocidal; something the American citizen is finally beginning to experience. And they have barely let the lions out of their cages at the Coliseum!

Already six to nine months into the recession, government leaders are still telling us that it is just a period of slow growth, a pit stop in this economic race that we�ll eventually win, so to worry not, my friend. That explains to us what �garbage numbers� government is using to rose-color the state of the economy in terms of growth, unemployment and inflation. We are probably the most lied to people by their government on the planet, at least among presumably developed and educated nations. Gullible us!

No matter what Bernanke, Greenspan�s successor, or Treasury Secretary Paulson tell us, we have already entered an epic bear global market the likes of which take us back three generations. But then WWII was able to bail us out since our economy was half of the world�s . . . and we were the international creators of wealth and credit, our economic and social well-being then based on savings, not just spending. Now we produce weaponry, and little else, on a planet which certainly doesn�t need it . . . and in a global economy where we appear to be an increasingly less important player. Months we are told before things will start to turn around. Optimists, you say? Try liars!

And, please, don�t just point the finger at the subprime mortgage loans, house flippers and proverbial greed in the real estate industry. That was just the catalyst, for our entire economy was out of control or, rather, lacking in proper controls. Home ownership as part of the American dream has always been a questionable policy before, and one completely foolhardy as our nation adopted globalization. Sure, realtors and politicians gained by proclaiming such idiocy -- and still do -- but the reality is quite different as it only redistributes wealth via tax sheltering; creates a less mobile society, worsening unemployment; and really slams the brakes on economic growth. People have been brainwashed to think this simple shelter should be equated to both savings and investment in a truly disproportionate way; and that�s the kind of mentality that got us to where we are today. Not just the abandoned, foreclosed homes, but there still remains a multi-trillion dollar overvaluation in �normal� housing, pseudo-wealth, which because of owners� psychological inelasticity to the �loss of wealth� will be either eroded slowly by inflation, or lost overnight as people are forced to sell . . . whatever the reason.

Even Britain has phased out in a two-decade period of tax-sheltering in housing . . . and we seem to be among the last in the world to accept its regressive concept. Let�s face it, these misnomers of �ownership society� and �popular capitalism� are but the elite�s way to confuse and enslave an already servile society . . . simply with clever PR.

There were a few of us during the past decade who questioned Greenspan�s sanity in going overboard granting easy credit to stimulate the economy solely through housing; a good chunk of the money used unrealized interest from savings seniors had faithfully accumulated during a lifetime; seniors de facto forced to be donors to an industry which turned out to be not just obscenely greedy but predatory as well.

I hope this to be the last time I write about Mr. Greenspan . . . he has proved to be all the negative things I always wrote he was. That doesn�t make me a visionary . . . but makes him either a fool or a practitioner of deception; or maybe both.

Can anyone fathom greater recent blunders than Paul Bremer�s disbanding of the Iraqi army when he was made �governor� of Iraq . . . or Alan Greenspan�s monetary policy during his last five years as head of the Fed? Well, if you are an American and can come up with one, even if of lesser magnitude . . . there is a Medal of Freedom waiting to be bestowed on you. At the Kennedy Center in Washington DC . . . by George W. Bush!

� 2008 Ben Tanosborn

Ben Tanosborn, columnist, poet and writer, resides in Vancouver, Washington (USA), where he is principal of a business consulting firm. Contact him at

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