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Shocked disbelief: Greenspan concedes flaw in his free-market ideology

Posted by ecoshift on October 23, 2008

hoo cuda knode? Worldwide
Greenspan Concedes He `Found a Flaw’ in His Free-Market Ideology
By Scott Lanman and Steve Matthews

Oct. 23 (Bloomberg) — Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, under a grilling from lawmakers at a congressional hearing today, conceded a flaw in his free-market ideology that contributed to a “once-in-a-century credit tsunami.”

“Yes, I found a flaw,” Greenspan said in response to questions from to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “That is precisely the reason I was shocked because I’d been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.”

Greenspan said he was “partially” wrong in his opposition in recent years to the regulation of derivatives. He said in a May 2005 speech that “private regulation generally has proved far better at constraining excessive risk-taking than has government regulation.”

Committee Chairman Henry Waxman, a California Democrat, said Greenspan had “the authority to prevent irresponsible lending practices that led to the subprime mortgage crisis.”

“You were advised to do so by many others,” he told Greenspan. “And now our whole economy is paying the price.”

Firms that bundle loans into securities for sale should be required to keep part of those securities, Greenspan said in prepared testimony. Other rules should address fraud and settlement of trades, he said.

Greenspan reiterated his “shocked disbelief” that financial companies failed to execute sufficient “surveillance” on their trading counterparties to prevent surging losses. The “breakdown” was clearest in the market where securities firms packaged home mortgages into debt sold on to other investors, he said.

“As much as I would prefer it otherwise, in this financial environment I see no choice but to require that all securitizers retain a meaningful part of the securities they issue,” Greenspan said. That would give the companies an incentive to ensure the assets are properly priced for their risk, advocates say.


One Response to “Shocked disbelief: Greenspan concedes flaw in his free-market ideology”

  1. batguano101 said

    Greenspan is “shocked” at the crisis from what he did.

    When did public stoning go out of style?

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