Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change
Net Net: Promoting innovation and managing change

Alan Greenspan's Fed Haircut

Alan Greenspan
Getty Images

Alan Greenspan went to the Federal Reserve headquarters Tuesday as the Federal Open Market Committee began a two-day meeting on monetary policy.

He was caught on camera arriving at the Fed.

But officials claim that he wasn't there to advise on monetary policy.

He was there to get a haircut. And not a metaphorical reduction in the principal value of a bond. An actual haircut.

The Fed has an in-house barbershop. It also has a sign that reads, "Your Growth Rate Affects My Money Supply."

Some on Wall Street are skeptical that Greenspan was really just there for a haircut.

"Why go when the FOMC is meeting? Does the barber only work during monetary policy days?" one guy at a Manhattan based hedge fund asked.

One Goldman Sachs employee, who is not working this week, sent me an email describing a fictional scene in which fed Chairman Ben Bernanke would casually ask Greenspan for advice while they were getting their haircut.

Bernanke: "So, Allen, how are things? Did you see 'Atlas Shrugged'?"

Greenspan: "Of course, Ben. You should get out more often. You look seriously pale."

Bernanke: "If John Galt were the head of the Federal Reserve and the economy was on the verge of a double dip while the government was run buy idiots, what monetary policy would he adopt."

Greenspan: "I see what you're doing there Ben. This is your job now."

I spoke to an older Merrill Lynch guy, who cited an even older barbershop maxim.

"There's a saying, 'You can only scalp a customer once, but you can give him a haircut every two weeks.' That's the best metaphor for QE-Infinity I've ever heard," he said.

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