- The Washington Times - Friday, March 23, 2001

Excuse me, have you seen the soft landing? Anyone know where the bull market went? In January, we were OK, coming back, getting up off the carpet. In March, there is madness as the U.S. economy is sinking faster than Leonardo Di Caprio's career.

So what happened? Technology guru George Gilder is blaming Fed Chief Alan Greenspan. Mr. Gilder writes, "Six interest rate hikes in the face of falling prices and a strong dollar were the cause of the tech explosion." Simply put, Mr. Gilder believes Mr. Greenspan strangled the tech expansion with a vengeance the Boston Strangler would have envied.

Is that true? Well, Mr. Greenspan will never tell. In fact, the most powerful man in the world doesn't answer questions from the media. Occasionally he trots up to Congress and bores everybody silly, but he would never sit down and explain in plain English why he failed to cut interest rates last fall when even Pamela Anderson knew the economy was shaky.

Alan Greenspan is out of control. Take that to the bank. The guy messed up big time and now will not explain himself. The last time Mr. Greenspan was seen in public was at the ultra-expensive Le Cirque restaurant in New York City. Have you ever been to Le Cirque? It's good, but you won't get out of there for under a hundred bucks and that's with a glass of wine, not a bottle. While millions of Americans are watching in horror as their mutual funds wither, Mr. Greenspan is living large. Let 'em eat cake.

President Bush says he has "confidence" in the nation's economy. Based on what, I ask? Profits are dropping all over the place, and corporate spending is taking a dive. Nobody knows what the heck Mr. Greenspan is doing, and there is no way to find out. Yes, there was a speculative bubble, and we all know markets go up and down. But there is a growing concern that this stunning decline was man-made.

Mr. Bush better go over to the Fed and bring Don Corleone's consigliere Tom Hagen with him. Somebody has some explaining to do, and it's not Ricky Ricardo. The president should "suggest" Mr. Greenspan provide some answers.

Americans are angry and confused, and they have a right to be. Millions of us have our retirements, children's education funds and annuities invested in corporate plans heavy on stock funds. We need some information here, Mr. President. If Mr. Greenspan is losing it, the American people have a right to know.

This whole scenario is frightening.

Mr. Greenspan's salary is paid by the taxpayers, but the president cannot fire him. The Fed chief is appointed for a four-year term and has tenure during that time. That system was put in place to avoid powerful politicians interfering with monetary policy for political gain. I understand that. What I don't understand is why Mr. Greenspan and his Fed gang are not required to hold monthly press conferences to explain to the country how they see the economy.

Think about this for a moment. This guy Alan Greenspan holds sway over you and your family. He makes decisions that can change your life in a heartbeat. Yet he is unaccountable to you.

And where is the press in all this? Where they usually are in times of crisis missing in action.

Somehow the elite media bought the Greenspan myth, that his wisdom was somewhat responsible for the great economic prosperity of the '90s. Hey, maybe that's true. But that was then, this is now. Things are going south fast, and nobody will explain why when America continues to dominate the technological revolution and there is no inflation or worldwide threat to prosperity.

If George Gilder is right, and Mr. Greenspan purposely strangled the stock market because he feared "irrational exuberance," then we need to know that. This country is supposed to operate on the free-market system. Not the "Greenspan sabotages market" system.

This Greenspan-economy deal is the most important story to come along in years. And we will not get the truth from the money-spinners on TV who want you to keep buying whatever they are selling. No, illumination will not be provided by the media or by Mr. Greenspan. It can only come from millions of Americans demanding answers from their elected officials. Send Mr. Bush a quick note saying you don't appreciate being kept out of the Fed loop, that you would like a few explanations.

They are messing with our families and our futures here. This is not a Monica Lewinsky-type problem. This is a "hurting us where we live" type problem. And we have a right to know what's going on.


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