Called the "Master of the Universe" by journalist economist Robert Novak, when enigmatic economist Alan Greenspan (1926-) spoke, Wall Street listened.
As the former head of the central bank, his control of the government's interest rates could have raced or slowed down the economy of the United States... and the world.
"Money," said poet Carl Sandburg, "is power, freedom, a cushion, the root of all evil, the sum of all blessings."
Greenspan, former Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, was born on this day in New York City. He played the clarinet in his high school orchestra, attended Julliard, and played professional jazz before graduating in 1948 from New York University (summa cum laude) with a B.S. in economics. For several years, he learned the "moral dimension" of capitalism as a member of philosopher Ayn Rand's Objectivists group.
"Dollars do better if they are accompanied by sense," observed clergyman Earl Riney.
And Greenspan has lots of sense. Known for his "measured and just right statements," he was adviser to Presidents Ford and Reagan before being named chairman of the Fed in August 1987.
"If I seem unusually clear to you, you must have misunderstood what I said," he once said.
When the Asian market slipped, he averted recession with finesse and three rate cuts. "(With the) deft handling of the Asian Contagion...the Fed chairman was promoted to iconic status and joined the ranks of Harry Houdini, General Douglas MacArthur, and Madonna," said biographer Justin Martin.