Back from the brink: the Greenspan years

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Wiley, 1996 - Biography & Autobiography - 452 pages
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"Steven Beckner, as knowledgeable a 'Fed watcher' as there is in the land, has done a great job telling the story of the challenging and successful Greenspan years. If you want to accurately forecast what the Fed will do with interest rates in the future, read this book and understand its powerful chairman." — L. William Seidman. Chief Commentator, CNBC and former head of the FDI

Praise for Steven Beckner and Back From the Brin

"This highly informative book provides a penetrating look inside the Greenspan Fed and the policy workings and personalities that successfully defanged inflation and achieved an economic 'soft landing' that resulted in spectacular bond and stock market rallies." — David M. Jones Vice Chairman and Chief Economist, Aubrey G. Langston & Co., Inc <p>"Steven Beckner has fashioned a vivid account of central banking and policymaking that gets at the heart of what really happens." — John Crow, Senior Advisor, AIG Inc. and former Governor, Bank of Canad

"Back From the Brink is an intriguing, detailed critique by an experienced market observer of some of the Federal Reserve's finest monetary policy under the leadership of one of the world's greatest central bankers." — Robert P. Black, former President, Richmond Federal Reserve Ban

"[Beckner] arrives in the markets like a bolt from the blue and launches his rockets directly onto the neon green screens of the New York trading desks through something called Market News Service. . . . No matter what he writes these days, people on Wall Street assign magical properties to his words." — Michael Lewis, New York Times Magazin

"He's the best chairman the Fed has ever had." — Allan Meltzer, Professor, Carnegie Mellon Universit

He is the most powerful man in Washington. His decisions sway world markets. He holds the fate of the U.S. economy in his hands—and you don't even get to vote for him. He is Alan Greenspan, the powerful, highly respected head of the Federal Reserve whose impressive record of accomplishments belies the turbulent events of his tenure. Like a brilliant military strategist, Greenspan has commanded and maneuvered through an economic minefield dotted with fiscal explosives ready to wreak havoc on national and global markets, single-handedly bringing the U.S. economy Back From the Brink. Now, read how he did it

Written by Steven Beckner, a respected financial journalist who has covered the Fed for more than twenty years, Back From the Brink is a compelling and intricate portrait of the enigmatic Greenspan and the powerful institution he heads. In a gripping, blow-by-blow account of the Fed's role during the Greenspan years—perhaps "the most difficult time to make monetary policy in the Fed's 83-year history"—Beckner skillfully weaves the subtleties of the Fed's complex inner workings with details of the Chairman's rise to—and phenomenal stay at—the top

Like most central bankers, Alan Greenspan the Chairman was made, not born. In fact, one of the most influential figures in Washington is, actually, a quiet, somewhat shy man whose childhood dream was to be a musician. Alan Greenspan entered the political arena in 1968 as director of domestic policy research for Richard Nixon's presidential campaign. He would go on to serve as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Ford and be named to Ronald Reagan's Economic Advisory Board. His impeccable credentials, along with his extraordinarily well-detailed understanding of both domestic and international economies made him the first—if not the only—choice to replace Paul Volcker as Fed chairman in 1987

Since taking office, Greenspan has been bombarded with potentially disastrous economic time bombs: from the ferocious crash of '87 and the recession of '90 to ongoing trade deficits, debt burdens, banking problems, swinging exchange rates, and severe credit crunches. Constantly battling inflation, he has also had to contend with enormous pressures from three different administrations to hold interest rates as low as possible. With exacting detail, Beckner deftly elucidates the myriad intricacies of monetary policy and the sometimes risky strategies of the Fed. Along the way, he charts the brilliant moves its Chairman has made to jumpstart the economy, create thousands of new jobs, and keep inflation in check

Expansive in scope, Back From the Brink exposes previously unrevealed facts about the Fed and its behind-the-scenes operations. A wholly accessible and illuminating work, this is the enthralling story of how the nation's economy was pushed to the precipice, but rescued from disaster by the world's most important central bank and the impressive man at its helm

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Contents

Introduction
1
ONE The Makings of a Central Banker
9
TWO Hitting the Ground Running
27
Copyright

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About the author (1996)

STEVEN K. BECKNER is a financial writer whose reporting sends ripples through the markets with the so-called "Beckner Effect" (The New York Times). For the last eleven years, he has been a reporter for Market News Service, a wire service specializing in information on and for the markets. He is also a frequent guest on National Public Radio where he demystifies economic and financial developments. 17 02 "He’s the best chairman the Fed has ever had." —Allan Meltzer, Professor Carnegie Mellon University He is the most powerful man in Washington. His decisions sway world markets. He holds the fate of the U.S. economy in his hands—and you don’t even get to vote for him. He is Alan Greenspan, the powerful, highly respected head of the Federal Reserve whose impressive record of accomplishments belies the turbulent events of his tenure. Like a brilliant military strategist, Greenspan has commanded and maneuvered through an economic minefield dotted with fiscal explosives ready to wreak havoc on national and global markets, single-handedly bringing the U.S. economy Back From the Brink. Now, read how he did it. Written by Steven Beckner, a respected financial journalist who has covered the Fed for more than twenty years, Back From the Brink is a compelling and intricate portrait of the enigmatic Greenspan and the powerful institution he heads. In a gripping, blow-by-blow account of the Fed’s role during the Greenspan years—perhaps "the most difficult time to make monetary policy in the Fed’s 83-year history"—Beckner skillfully weaves the subtleties of the Fed’s complex inner workings with details of the Chairman’s rise to—and phenomenal stay at—the top. Like most central bankers, Alan Greenspan the Chairman was made, not born. In fact, one of the most influential figures in Washington is, actually, a quiet, somewhat shy man whose childhood dream was to be a musician. Alan Greenspan entered the political arena in 1968 as director of domestic policy research for Richard Nixon’s presidential campaign. He would go on to serve as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Ford and be named to Ronald Reagan’s Economic Advisory Board. His impeccable credentials, along with his extraordinarily well-detailed understanding of both domestic and international economies made him the first—if not the only—choice to replace Paul Volcker as Fed chairman in 1987. Since taking office, Greenspan has been bombarded with potentially disastrous economic time bombs: from the ferocious crash of ’87 and the recession of ’90 to ongoing trade deficits, debt burdens, banking problems, swinging exchange rates, and severe credit crunches. Constantly battling inflation, he has also had to contend with enormous pressures from three different administrations to hold interest rates as low as possible. With exacting detail, Beckner deftly elucidates the myriad intricacies of monetary policy and the sometimes risky strategies of the Fed. Along the way, he charts the brilliant moves its Chairman has made to jumpstart the economy, create thousands of new jobs, and keep inflation in check. Expansive in scope, Back From the Brink exposes previously unrevealed facts about the Fed and its behind-the-scenes operations. A wholly accessible and illuminating work, this is the enthralling story of how the nation’s economy was pushed to the precipice, but rescued from disaster by the world’s most important central bank and the impressive man at its helm.