For all his vaunted talents, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan has never had much of a reputation as an economic forecaster. In fact, he shies away from making the precise-to-the-decimal-point predictions that many other economists thrive on. Instead, he owes his success as a monetary policymaker to his ability to sniff out threats to the economy and manipulate interest rates to dampen the dangers he perceives.
Now, those instincts are being put to the test. Many Fed watchers—and some policymakers inside the central bank itself—are beginning to wonder whether Greenspan has lost his touch. Despite rising risks to the economy from a swooning stock market and soaring oil prices that could hamper growth, the Greenspan-led Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) opted to leave interest rates unchanged on Sept.24. But in a rare dissent, two of the Fed’s 12 policymakers broke ranks and voted for a cut in rates—Dallas Fed President Robert D. McTeer Jr. and central bank Governor Edward M.Gramlich.
The move by McTeer, the Fed’s self-styled “Lonesome Dove”, was no surprise. But Gramlich’s was. This was the first time that the monetary moderate had voted against the chairman since joining the Fed’s board in 1997. And it was the first public dissent by a governor since 1995.
Despite the split vote, it’s too soon to count the maestro of monetary policy out. Greenspan had good reasons for not cutting interest rates now. And by acknowledging in the statement issued after the meeting that the economy does indeed face risks, Greenspan left the door wide open to a rate reduction in the future. Indeed, former Fed Governor Lyle Gramley thinks chances are good that the central bank might even cut rates before its next scheduled meeting on Nov.6, the day after congressional elections.
So why didn’t the traditionally risk-averse Greenspan cut rates now as insurance against the dangers dogging growth? For one thing, he still thinks the economy is in recovery mode. Consumer demand remains buoyant and has even been turbocharged recently by a new wave of mortgage refinancing. Economists reckon that homeowners will extract some $100 billion in cash from their houses in the second half of this year. And despite all the corporate gloom, business spending has shown signs of picking up, though not anywhere near as strongly as the Fed would like.
Does that mean that further rate cuts are off the table? Hardly. Watch for Greenspan to try to time any rate reductions to when they’ll have the most psychological pop on business and investor confidence. That’s surely no easy feat, but it’s one that Greenspan has shown himself capable of more than once in the past. Don’t be surprised if he surprises everyone again.
1. Alan Greenspan owes his reputation much to .
A. his successful predictions of economy
B. his timely handling of interest rates
C. his unusual economic policies
D. his unique sense of dangers
2. It can be inferred from the passage that .
A. instincts most often misguide the monetary policies
B. Greenspan has lost his control of the central bank
C. consensus is often the case among Fed’s policymakers
D. Greenspan wouldnt tolerate such a dissent
3. Gramley’s remarks are mentioned to indicate that .
A. Greenspan didnt rule out the possibility of a future rate reduction
B. Greenspan’s monetary policy may turn out to be a failure
C. Greenspan’s refusal to cut rates now was justified
D. Greenspan will definitely cut the rates before Nov.6
4. From the fifth paragraph, we can learn that .
A. economy is now well on its way to recovery
B. economists are uncertain about consumer demand
C. corporate performance is generally not encouraging
D. businesses have been investing the way the Fed hoped
5. The author seems to regard Greenspan’s manipulation of interest rates with .
A. disapproval B. doubt C. approval D. admiration
现在，这些才能正经受着考验。许多美联储的观察家——包括中央银行内部的一些政策指定者——都琢磨着格林斯潘是不是已才思不再。尽管经济面临着诸多危险，证券低迷，油价飙升，经济遭阻，但在9月24日，格林斯潘所领导的FOMC却决定维持利率不变。然而出现了罕见的分歧，美联储的12位立法者中有两人打破惯例，主张降低利率——美联储驻达拉斯总裁Robert D.McTeer Jr.及中央银行总裁Edward M.Gramlich。
尽管出现了投票分歧，现在就认为货币大师输了还为时过早，格林斯潘是有充分理由不立即降息的。在会后发表的申明中，格林斯潘承认经济有危险，这就说明他并没有将未来降息的可能全部封死。事实上，前美联储主席Lyle Gramley就认为，11月6日， 即国会选举日后一天，中央银行在下次例行会议上会宣布降息。
【解析】这是一道推论题。根据第二段末句“ in a rare dissent...”可知，美联储的决策者们多数情况下是意见一致的。故C为正确项。