Alan Greenspan on 'Turbulence' and Exuberance

Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chair i i

Former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan says he worries less about U.S. spending in Iraq than about how the nation intends to finance the Medicare program — and the industries associated with it — as baby-boomers age. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve chair

Former Federal Reserve chair Alan Greenspan says he worries less about U.S. spending in Iraq than about how the nation intends to finance the Medicare program — and the industries associated with it — as baby-boomers age.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

For 18 years, from 1987 to 2006, Alan Greenspan was chair of the Federal Reserve Board — the United States' central banker, in charge of steering the nation's monetary policy. His every word was scrutinized by markets, read like tea leaves by market makers and investors looking for clues to his thoughts on the economy's health.

Now he's put those thoughts on paper, at length, in a memoir. It's titled The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, and it discusses everything from his cryptic word choices during Congressional testimony to protracted courtship of his wife, NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell.

Greenspan talks to Terry Gross about whether Fed policies on his watch helped create conditions that fueled the rise of sub-prime mortgage lending — along with the current mortgage-market crisis — and about whether he'd do anything differently, knowing what he knows now.

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