Translating Alan Greenspan-Speak

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The Fed chairman was famous for tough-to-follow remarks that nevertheless moved the financial markets. In this specific example, the message is: save more money.


You can find a timeline of Alan Greenspan's career and see a snapshot of the economy during his tenure at the Fed at our website,


Alan Greenspan's replacement Ben Bernanke is by all accounts a clear and direct communicator of economic ideas. That hasn't always been the case with Mr. Greenspan.

NORRIS: And before we bid him farewell, we thought we'd share one last bit of Mr. Greenspan's wisdom, one that really captures his unique style. Here you go.

Mr. ALAN GREENSPAN (Chairman, Federal Reserve): Taking steps to increase our national savings through fiscal action to lower federal budget deficits would help diminish the risks that a further reduction in the rate of purchase of dollar asset by foreign investors, could severely crimp the business investment that is crucial for our long term growth.

BLOCK: Okay Michele what do you think he's trying to say there?

NORRIS, host: I actually don't even think I'm gonna try to take a stab at that translation.

BLOCK: Well our business desk folks upstairs helped us out and they say that a rough translation would be this, America needs to save more money.

NORRIS: It took him quite a while to say that but it's good advice indeed.

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