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There Are Only Two Things About Being Fed Chair That Alan Greenspan Misses

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It might seem like a difficult job to give up, what with the fame, the power, and the access to a printing press that means you'll never be short on cash. And considering it was the thing that defined him for almost twenty years, you might think giving up the gig might be hard for Big Al. But honestly, it really wasn't. What probably helped the transition was the unlimited offers to headline conferences in the Maldives, pocket 300 large for a giving a 5 minute speech and then sip pina coladas with ten of UBS’s finest investor relations bunnies, the months of comedic relief associated with watching his successor get his ass torn out after having promised the guy "things are in pretty good shape" just before leaving the building, and the mornings off to watch the Price is Right. But...there a couple things McG does miss and today over a lunch of grilled Swordfish and Diet Coke, he unloaded on the FT. Hint: they involve 1) being paid to just shoot the shit about the previous night's episode of Survivor and 2) a big hunk of love who probably gives great if not sweaty bear hugs.

When he was Fed chairman, he had dozens of the smartest economists in the world as a resource and endless conversations with brilliant colleagues and counterparts around the world. For him, personally, how much of a wrench was it to leave it all? The answer, it turns out, is not a huge one. He does hanker for the regular free-form meetings he used to have with Fed officials, sitting round for hours and talking about whatever interested him that day. Rather wistfully, he says he also misses the regular breakfasts he had with Larry Summers...Many colleagues regard Summers as abrasive, but Greenspan sounds affectionate. “We had a wonderful time,” he says. “I know the guy has a lot of people thinking he’s a little rough sometimes, but he is smart. Larry is really smart.”

Lar, if you're reading this-- give him a call.

Lunch With Alan Greenspan [FT]


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