Were you wondering what Alan Greenspan thinks about the outlook for monetary policy across the globe?
Neither were we, but Bloomberg was and Tom Keene and Mike McKee got the “privilege” of sitting down with the “maestro” on Monday afternoon to discuss a variety of topics including NIRP, which Greenspan says “warps investment behavior.”
While he isn’t willing to go so far as to condemn negative rates as “dangerous,” he does say the global race to the proverbial Keynesian bottom is “counterproductive.”
As far as the US economy is concerned, Greenspan isn’t optimistic. “We’re in trouble basically because productivity is dead in the water…Real capital investment is way below average. Why? Because business people are very uncertain about the future.”
Well yes, they most certainly are. Of course were it not for “the Greenspan put” and decades of policy largesse we might not have ever had a financial crisis in the first place (David Stockman will tell you all about Greenspan’s role in creating the conditions we now find ourselves in).
As for whether Dodd-Frank has solved anything, Greenspan says no: "The regulations are supposed to be making changes of addressing the problems that existed in 2008 or leading up to 2008. It's not doing that. 'Too Big to Fail' is a critical issue back then, and now. And, there is nothing in Dodd-Frank which actually addresses this issue."
And finally, here’s the punchline. Asked whether he’s optimistic going forward, Greenspan said this: "No. I haven't been for quite a while. And I won’t be until we can resolve the entitlement programs. Nobody wants to touch it. And that is gradually crowding out capital investment, and that's crowding out productivity, and it's crowding out the standards of living where do you want me to go from there."
Here are the clips in which Greenspan touches on everything from NIRP to faux Chinese GDP data to US crude production:
Now if only he hadn't gotten us into this mess in the first place...