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The Divine Mr. G.

Weird Worship of Nebish Central

This is Dark Cloud on Wednesday, March 21, 2001.

The American Right has always lived in a magical land of rather rancid mythology, where men are men and only hairy-chested, rugged individualism accomplishes anything, all evidence to the contrary. The great myth fixated on the American cowboy, distorted him beyond all accuracy or point, and average American males continue to use him as their bellwether for being mythic material themselves. In recent years, truckers tried to be the new American Cowboy, and waited patiently for the adulation, hampered only by the revelation they shot at each other from overpasses, were willing to send the nation down the tubes if they couldn't get free gasoline, and couldn't construct a remotely honest labor union if their dues depended on it, which they eventually did. Nowadays, the dot.commers try for the title.

But a consistent contender has always been the Wall St. investor. You know, the heroic individual risking his own money to keep the pot churned and jobs a'comin' for the little guy, fighting government interference on the one hand and corrupt labor unions on the other. You know. Him.

So how pathetic is it to watch all such malarkey revealed, again, as Wall St. runs desperately to its supposed nemesis, the Federal Government, to bail them out of another mess constructed by its greed and quite stunning stupidity. Well, stupidity only if the Federal Reserve didn't bail them out, which it did yesterday after weeks of tongue bathing the Fed's chairman, Allan Greenspan. In a classic shill routine, elements are complaining that the Fed.'s dropping the prime rate by a half point isn't enough and should have been a quarter point more. All the theatrical elements so beloved by ham fisted grifters are in place, including the role played by Hispanically speaking Dubya himself. They are even hoping to extort another drop in the Prime Rate in two months.

The elevation of Allan Greenspan to divine status has been one of the remarkable and dangerous viewable horror shows of the last ten years. The very embodiment of the mousy bureaucrat of the type supposedly hated by all patriots from Strom Thurmond to the Michigan Militia, Greenspan's normally tightfisted approach to the Fed is correctly given much credit for our remarkable economy of the last few years, and is vocally beloved by all the groups you'd expect to hate him. But he has been there too long. He is no longer the Marlboro Man, Shane, riding into town to set things right, reigning in the free spenders. He now more closely resembles J. Edgar Hoover, a gentleman who rode the same sort of forced adulation for the wrong reasons from the same sorts of people. Like Hoover, Greenspan has come to pander to those who would keep him in power, to equivocate in his pronouncements, to have a personal agenda for perpetuity. He has become a folk hero. Not only to the Doofus discussing his four shares of Microsoft, but to the allegedly savvy financial writers and hallowed economists have stated in print that it doesn't matter who is President if Greenspan is Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Some go so far as to say that Greenspan runs the country. If true, we have endured a coup that nobody noticed. Surely even the densest individual must realize that it is easier for Congress and the President to force action on the Reserve Chairman than the reverse. Surely we all see that?

No we don't. The Left and Right both find Greenspan a handy weapon with which to lacerate the other, negating any need to credit a political opponent. Most people, most of us, could not give a coherent explanation of the Federal Reserve, how it differs from the Treasury, what the rights of the Reserve are and who besides the Chairman has a say. Fewer yet could give the historical explanations for its existence. And virtually nobody can tell you how our economy works, but especially the role played by Wall St. investors. All they know is that Allan Greenspan is there. The Marshall is in town, at the ranch, on the job. The rowdies had better not mess with him.

But what's myth, what's truth?

The American West was settled by the Federal Government, using corporate land grants, inducements, and deals with railroads, who instituted gun control laws as quickly as they could, and marshaled ex Union soldiers to be peace officers against the Confederate thugs who provided the outlaw element for the twenty five years that is called The West in our history. The American Economy is controlled and run by the Federal government, using corporate grants, inducements, and deals with large investors, who instituted stock voting laws as quickly as they could, and marshaled bureaucrats to be peace officers against the rebellious, rich, thugs who run wild over the financial landscape.

But just as Wyatt Earp spent most of his time sweeping up the horse offerings, the Fed spends much of its time doing not much different. It is wrong to fictionalize the truth to serve the myth. It is wrong to make Allen Greenspan divine. It is wrong and very, very stupid and dangerous.