Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said a ``once-in-a-century credit tsunami'' has engulfed financial markets and conceded his free-market ideology shunning regulation was flawed.
``Yes, I found a flaw,'' Greenspan said in response to grilling from the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. ``I was shocked because I'd been going for 40 years or more with very considerable evidence that it was working exceptionally well.'' Greenspan added he was ``partially'' wrong for opposing the regulation of derivatives.
Greenspan's contrition came after lawmakers and Fed watchers increasingly blamed the former Fed chairman for helping cause the crisis with lax oversight of the housing boom and derivatives markets. Normally afforded deference by Congress, he endured almost four hours of questions from lawmakers less than two weeks before a national election.
``Greenspan is finally taking some responsibility for his actions,'' said Paul Kasriel, director of economic research at Northern Trust Co. in Chicago and a former Fed official. ``The damage has been done. His reputation has definitely been tarnished.''
Greenspan, responding to questions, said only ``onerous'' regulation would have prevented the financial crisis. Stifling rules would have suppressed growth and hurt Americans' standards of living, he said.
Comment: Goes on to say he is not infallible or omniscient. That's good to know!