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Not from the Onion

I made the mistake of reading the Onion's coverage of the A-Rod scandal and then surfing over to this New York Times story. For a minute, I thought I was still at the Onion:

Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, told CNBC
in a documentary to be shown Thursday night that he did not fully
understand the scope of the subprime mortgage market until well into
2005 and could not make sense of the complex derivative products
created out of mortgages.

The doddering ex-genius, now revealed to have feet of clay, and forced to be a punching bag for journalists desperate to identify a villain for dramatic purposes, found himself increasingly bewildered by the alphabet soup mix of CDO's, CMO's, CDS, Basel II, and synthetic swaps at the heart of the mortgage meltdown.

OK, I made up that second paragraph. But that first one, which is actually from the news report, does strike me as a bit over the top in the way that it's worded. He couldn't make sense of the products? A bit harsh. It's bad enough he kept interest rates so low for so long out of fear of a crippling deflation or worse beginning in 2001. We don't have to cast him as a buffoon, as well. He's got some interesting quotes in the article.


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