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5 Forever or Forgotten: Rascals & Reprobates - Part 3

Alan Greespan: REMEMBERED

Alan Greenspan mentioned in the same space as Bernie Madoff? Has Hell frozen over?

Five years ago, associating Greenspan with a common con-man would have been tantamount to apostasy. But it's been a tough five years. These days, there they are, Greenspan and Madoff co-habitating uncomfortably on Time Magazine's list of "25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis."

In short, our dual human needs for simplicity and closure require that a single victim be scapegoated for the Great Recession. Alas, the unlucky thirteenth chairman of the Federal Reserve is simply the most obvious candidate to fill that role.

After all, Greenspan's now-unfashionable libertarian leanings, free-market fandom and aversion to regulation are legendary. His well-known speeches praising the growth of derivative markets and commending the proliferation of subprime mortgages provide an arsenal of smoking guns.

Finally, as the allure of Wall Street and the economic importance of investment banks continue to fade, their patron saint's reputation will further diminish. According to, Greenspan was once known as a "hack who always gave ...his clients what they wanted instead of something actual." Sadly, this early-career assessment seems likely to also serve as Greenspan's lasting epitaph.

This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.
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