|re: Maybe Alan Greenspan really is a genius?|
Certainly, without the Fed's aggressive action, we would have seen the complete shutdown of the capital markets in late 2000.
In the 1800s, before there was a Fed, with completely unregulated markets, this is what happened, repeatedly. With the railroad buildout, there were repeated booms and busts. In boom times, capital was available to build parallel rail lines out to empty spots on the prairie. In bust times, no one could get any capital for anything. Even the best-run companies, run by honest people, would run out of cash with lines 90% complete.
IMO, the Fed has done little to decrease the excesses of the Bubble. By contrast, they have aggressively lowered rates and increased liquidity, to avoid a (worse) downturn. The problem with this is, it builds up Moral Hazard (rescuing decision-makers when they lose their gambles). I suppose you could argue that we'll see the Bubble deflated in steps, like a balloon with a tiny intermittent pinhole in it. But there is no historical precedent for that. The robust historical pattern, is that BigBooms (rapid buildouts financed with debt) always lead to BigBusts. And the conditions that have existed at the bottom of those BigBusts, has not happened yet. Which is why I think most of the talk about 10/01 being THE Bottom, is wishful thinking.