Greenspan in People magazine

Peter Kilander peterk at
Sat Dec 26 17:09:28 PST 1998

As I mentioned in a previous post, Alan Greenspan is one of this year's most intriguing people according to People magazine. I don't know if order of appearance matters, but he's after Oprah and before Leonardo DiCaprio.

>From the December 28th/January 4th special double issue.

People magazine

no byline

Alan Greenspan may be one of the world's most influential men. But he once slyly commented that public life had taught him how to "mumble with great incoherence." Or as he also likes to say: "If I seem unduly clear to you, you must have misunderstood what I said." All the same, when this canny operator speaks, people listen closely. As chairman of the Federal Reserve System, he heads the body that sets key U.S. interest rates, which in turn drive rates on credit cards, mortgages and car loans, which in turn move the big wheels of the U.S. economy. A cross between oracle and king, he doesn't just drop hints about the future. He has the power to make it happen.

In 11 years as Fed chairman, Greenspan has helped render inflation as distant a memory as *Dynasty*, sustaining eight lustrous years of economic boom. But his toughest test by far came in 1998, when bumpy economies in Russia, Asia and Latin America tripped up Wall Street's bulls and left the U.S. vulnerable to recession. Greenspan persuaded his Fed colleagues to support three timely interest-rate cuts, a nimble reversal of his long-held impulse to raise rates to combat inflation. For a time at least, that helped return stocks (and your retirement funds) to their giddiest summer highs.

Not bad for a guy who does his best work while soaking in the tub each morning for 90 minutes because of a bad back. His wife, NBC News correspondent Andrea Mitchell, 52, surely the only person in the world to call him "sweet pea," says his obscure public manner is no mystery: "Alan is basically shy." Maybe, but Greenspan is a player, and in more ways than one. In the 1940s he played sax and clarinet with a swing band -- but as the son of a stockbroker, he also handled the bands finances. Later he picked up three economics degrees, started an economic consulting firm, held a succession of appointive government posts and entered a short-lived 1952 marriage with Joan Mitchell, who became a celebrated painter.

At 72 he's one of Washington's most tireless partygoers, a man linked with such potentates as Barbara Walters before he began dating Andrea in 1985. And still he finds time to calm troubled waters. "Greenspan deserves all credit for guiding the U.S. economy through the most tumultuous period in probably 60 years," says CNNfn anchor Lou Dobbs. So what if he mumbles? When he faced his biggest challenge yet, his ability and resolve were clear. ---------------------------------------------------- I do have to agree with People magazine's choice of Lorrie Moore's Birds of America, a collection of short stories, as one of the top 10 books of '98. The following is from her short story Community Life: "I mean, you probably always wanted to be a librarian, right?"

She looked at the crooked diagnals of his face and couldn't tell whether he was serious. "Me?" she said. "I first went to graduate school to be an English professor." She sighed, switching elbows, sinking her chin into her other hand. "I did try," she said. "I read Derrida. I read Lacan. I read *Reading Lacan*. I read 'Reading *Reading Lacan*'--and that's when I applied to library school." -------------- next part -------------- An HTML attachment was scrubbed... URL: <../attachments/19981226/08588b0e/attachment.htm>

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