Saturday, June 10, 2006

The Maestro as Has-Been

The Washington Post reported on Thursday:

Shorn of his powers at the Federal Reserve, Alan Greenspan may have lost a tad of the aura and authority that until recently made his every word worth deciphering.

At the 9 a.m. start of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing yesterday, in which Greenspan was testifying for the first time since retiring from the Fed, only two committee members had shown up. Half an hour later, eight members were there, but most of them soon drifted off for a roll call vote, to hear the president of Latvia speak or simply to go about their other business.

The story is yet another reminder that Washington values power over insight. Greenspan is just as good an economic analyst now as he was last year, but that was never enough to impress Senators.

The story also reminds us that the nation is now deprived of an economic-guru-in-chief to comment broadly on policy matters. Ben Bernanke is too new in his job to play the role that Greenspan played, and he may be temperamentally disinclined to venture too far from issues in monetary policy.

So where are people going to turn for impartial, insightful economic analysis of the pressing issues of the day? Oh, yeah, I almost forgot: the blogosphere!