February 06, 2006

ABC News Gives Greenspan A Retirement Gift

According to a recent ABC News poll, over 70% of Americans have approved of the way Alan Greenspan has performed in his job as Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank over the last 18 years.

I hope I don't sound too cynical here, but do even 10% of Americans know what the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Bank does?

ABC goes on to explain:

There is a gap: Republicans are 18 points more apt than Democrats to approve of Greenspan's performance. But that compares with a 72-point partisan split in assessments of Bush's work in office (84 percent of Republicans approve, versus 12 percent of Democrats.)
An equally striking achievement for Greenspan is the fact that his approval is so high even while 60 percent of Americans rate the national economy negatively. Among those who say it's in bad shape, 55 percent nonetheless approve of the job he's done as Fed chairman. And among those who say the economy's in good shape, far more — 84 percent — approve. (Just 46 percent approve of how Bush is handling the economy, possible proof that politics is just plain unfair.)

Unfair? Maybe a little crazy-making, but unfair? 60% of Americans think the economy stinks, but over 70% think Greenspan has done a good job?So who conducted this poll, anyway?

Here's the answer. The poll was conducted by a company, called TNS, that serves corporations through its marketing survey services. Here is how TNS describes itself:

At TNS we have an extensive global reach, operating out of 70 countries worldwide. This allows us to provide market measurement, analysis, insight and consultancy to both national and multinational companies. We help our clients develop effective business strategies and communications which, in turn, helps them enhance their relationships with their customers.

Can you imagine how TNS got the results of this poll? What did it do, send out some people to the corporate board rooms of banks, credit card companies, and oil companies and ask them whether they though Alan Greenspan had done a good job these last 18 years?

Here's a company dedicated to making up the best stories and images it can about its corporate clients' products and brands, and it is the one company ABC News partners with to conduct this poll. I wonder how much work TNS has done to burnish ABC's brand?

The paragraph below is from the blurb describing the book Greenspan's Fraud.

For two decades Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has held reign over economic policy, outlasting three presidents. His long tenure has had a profound effect on global economics and on individuals. In this hard-hitting exposé, international bestselling author Ravi Batra takes sharp aim at Greenspan's policies since he came into power. Greenomics, Batra argues, has extracted trillions of dollars from the American middle class and sharply benefited the rich, while protecting big business [emphasis added]. Batra proves that Greenomics has also been responsible for periods of irrational exuberance, and exposes the wild inconsistencies in his social security plans. Greenspan's Fraud explores Greenspan's influences and motivations and the discrepancies between his words and actions, while revealing how his policies have national and global impact.

Probably the best way to look at this ABC News poll is as a retirement gift from one of Greenspan's many corporate beneficiaries.

1 comment:

nightquill said...

I'm no particular fan of Greenspan, but what is it that he did besides set interest rates? If it's just that single parameter, which as I understand it only balances availability of capital versus inflation, how can we blame him for the major problems related to insufficient regulation, profit-driven globalization, and the various ways that corporations purchase Congress? Shouldn't Congress and the President get this blame? I'm not even sure whether as a progressive I should argue that he should have set interest rates higher or lower. Which is it?