Monday, May 03, 2010

Comedy Tonight: From the unique comedy stylings of Al "Mumbles" Greenspan


by Ken

Are you sitting down for this? Trust me, you'll thank me later.

Our colleague Ryan Grim, HuffPost's indefatigable senior congressional correspondent, went rummaging in the newly released transcript of a March 2004 Federal Reserve meeting, included with the transcripts of Federal Open Market Committee meetings for 2004 released on Friday (that's the most recent year for which transcripts are available), and passes on a gem, for both news and comedy value, spotted by CalculatedRisk

Ryan notes that the subject of a possibly dangerous housing bubble came up at that March 2004 meeting, with alarm being voiced by at least one participant, Atlanta Fed President Jack Guynn. He adds: "Had Guynn's warning been heeded and the housing market cooled, the financial collapse of 2008 could have been avoided." But then-Fed chairman Al "Mumbles" Greenspan kept said discussion strictly within the Fed's Cone of Silence. This is actually a fairly substantial news story: that the Fed Open Market Committee actually discussed the housing bubble at a time when its official policy was that no such thing existed.

But from the comedic standpoint what's truly magnificent is the way the great man ordered that the subject be kept in strict Fed confidence. This is our Mumbles at his most side-splittingly hilarious:
We run the risk, by laying out the pros and cons of a particular argument, of inducing people to join in on the debate, and in this regard it is possible to lose control of a process that only we fully understand.

Note: Emphasis in the above added by yours truly. But that's right, ladies and germs: "that only we fully understand"! And so today's Henny Youngman "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Award for Comedy goes, uncontested, to the Mumbling Man.

I don't have the transcript, but I'm guessing that Al's next joke was: "Take my wife, please!"

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At 12:42 PM, Blogger milkchaser said...

That was interesting. I wonder what Greenspan would say if his words were read back to him. Would he express some humility?

I have noticed in some of your other blog posts you insist on using the term "tea bagger" instead of tea party. I find this distasteful. It is one thing to disagree with someone, as I find I mostly disagree with you, but quite another to denigrate and insult him.

I do not find this persuasive, and yet, I suspect that you yearn to persuade others. It would seem to work against that purpose.


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