Tomorrow’s the big day for former Fed chairman Alan Greenspan, correctly selected as the first witness to testify at a three-day hearing of the FCIC (Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission) on the subject of “Subprime Lending and Securitization and Government-Sponsored Enterprises (GSEs)”.
The first session, with the 84-year old Greenspan as the only panelist, begins at 9AM EST, so, if you live on the West Coast, either plan to get up early or set your DVR, though, aside from the FCIC website (www.fcic.gov), I don’t know where you’ll find it – maybe on CSPAN, but a quick check of their schedule for tomorrow doesn’t show it.
Surely, the major business news channels will show at least part of the feed throughout the morning and, hopefully, someone will put a highlights package together since it looks like he’ll be up there for two or three hours. There are a total of six panels over three days and he’s the only one going solo.
In an attempt to assist the FCIC with their questioning, Fred Sheehan, author of Panderer to Power: The Untold Story of How Alan Greenspan Enriched Wall Street and Left a Legacy of Recession (McGraw-Hill, 2009), has taken the time to prepare a few notes for the commission and was even kind enough to send them all copies of his book. Who knows whether they’ll read any of it, but, he certainly does raise a few very good points that deserve a bit more probing, that is, outside of the mostly friendly confines of network television and, in this case, presumably under oath.
Fred lays out three areas areas deserving of attention and provides lots of backup data:
- Alan Greenspan and the Government-Sponsored Enterprises
- Alan Greenspan Used his Position to Sell Toxic Mortgage Products
- The Federal Reserve is Cause, Not Effect, for Abuses in Subprime Lending
On the first topic, the question of Greenspan and the GSEs comes down to a matter of timing. As has been noted many times here at this blog, the only “systemic risk” that the former Fed chairman ever really identified in his career was the GSEs, however, that wasn’t until well after it had become clear that there were serious problems there.