Earlier this month, Alan Greenspan “died“, only to pull a Jesus less than a half hour later.
Over the course of his fleeting stint in the afterlife, there was no shortage of Twitter detractors who jumped at the opportunity to malign his legacy. So much the worse for those folks.
Alan Greenspan died for 20 minutes so he could find out which one of you snarky bastards was going to talk shit about him and then he came back to life to exact his revenge.
— Walter White (@heisenbergrpt) October 9, 2018
Fast forward to Thursday and a very much alive Alan showed up on CNBC to chat about a variety of things, not the least of which is Donald Trump’s ongoing criticism of the Fed.
As you’re undoubtedly aware, the President took his public criticism of Jerome Powell to a whole new level in the wake of last week’s selloff, first branding the Fed “crazy” in remarks to reporters on a tarmac in Pennsylvania, and then adding a Spanish twist hours later when he told Fox Business that Jerome Powell might just be “loco”.
It got worse from there. Earlier this week, Trump told Fox that the central bank is now his “greatest threat” and given his penchant for equating himself with the interests of all Americans, one certainly imagines it’s just a matter of time before the Fed becomes “the enemy of the people”. That would be a welcome reprieve for the media, which has carried the burden of that derisive label for going on two years, but it would be an egregious affront to decorum vis-à-vis U.S. monetary policy.
Well, in characteristically jovial fashion, Greenspan told CNBC’s Joe Kernen that every president imagines they have a better read on monetary policy than the Fed. Alan’s advice to Jerome Powell: “Earmuffs.” Here’s the clip:
You’ll find every president has an insight into how the markets work and where interest ought to be, which is always superior to that of the Federal Open Market Committee. The best thing that you can do if you’re in the Fed is put earmuffs on and just don’t listen. I was at the Fed for 18 and a half years. I got innumerable notes, pledges, requests etc. to lower rates. I do not recall a single instance where somebody in the political realm said we need to raise rates, they’re too low.
That’s probably wise counsel, but then again, it’s hard to “earmuff” a guy (Trump) with a penchant for shrieking at the top of lungs at raucous campaign rallies and who wakes up every, single morning with a mind towards conjuring new Twitter nicknames for all his enemies, both real and imagined.
Oh, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t include this…