Common Sense: Late to the Party?

Normally, I let my hate mail fly, even when it comes to that head stuff. It's all in good fun, I figure.

But these attacks that I'm only now getting on Greenspan's case? Well, it's getting on "my" case. Because it's not true — not true at all.

I want to bring your attention to this article I wrote in the New York Post nearly a year ago, dated Monday, October 9, 2000, under the headline "Did Alan Greenspan Blow It?"

The Fed had been raising rates and was threatening to do so again. Keep in mind, the Fed's rate "cuts" were still two months away.

But already I had stated there were sufficient signs of economic weakness and went on to point out, and I quote:

"If you're waiting for the Fed to acknowledge mistakes, forget about it."

I compared my bashing Greenspan to that old Jim Croce song, "You Don't Tug on Superman's Cape?"  I knew it was sacrilegious to question him.  But I did then and two months later did so again, when I reported, "The Force is Not With Greenspan," and wrote:

"Unless Yoda and his buddies start cutting rates and fast, this economy will really start sputtering and fast."

I echoed these comments on my show. But I must admit, not nearly as many folks watch or read me as watch Bill O'Reilly. That's fine. But saying that I missed the Greenspan thing, well, that's not fine.

And sometimes being the thin-skinned chap I can be, I get a little miffed.

Here is where my friend Bill and I differ though.

Greenspan's a villain. But he's not the only villain. All of us should look in the mirror. All of us who thought it our birthright to make double-digit returns on companies that had no earnings or even prospects of earnings.

I said on Bill's show and this one that we can play victim all we want in the end, we push the button. No one else.

That didn't sit well with many of you. But I think it's the truth. Markets go in waves. Understandably, we just don't like this particular tide.

Bill said then and says now, it's awful and a recession. I didn't then and I don't now. I called it a blip in the scheme of things.

Since 1929, through recessions and wars, capitalism always triumphs and so do markets. I didn't then — and don't know now — how long this lasts.

I said then and say now that we're not in a recession, that you need two back-to-back quarters of negative growth to do that. Semantics for some, but important for me to get our terms right. We're close — very close. But we're not there yet.

Does that make me Pollyannaish? Maybe.

I think I'm just optimistic.

Clearly my megaphone isn't as big or as commanding as Bill O'Reilly's. That's a credit to him.

But just because you didn't see the tree fall in the forest, doesn't mean it didn't fall. It did — just not that many saw it.

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