In the infamous transcript of the Federal Reserve's first meeting in 2006, the word "[Laughter]" appeared at least 45 times. In one case, Fed
Chair Alan Greenspan mocked his fellow economists' ability to predict the future,
and the board laughed. Two years later, the global economy fell apart due to a housing meltdown that many Fed economists noted, but discounted. I counted the top ten most ironic laugh lines of the meeting here.
The Daily Stag Hunt did one better: It counted the word "[Laughter]" in every Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) transcript between 2001 and 2006 -- the bubble years for the housing market. Then they graphed the results.
Does that picture remind you of something? Here's a look at home prices between 2001 and 2006:
Pull back the lens, and here's what happened to home prices when the laughter stopped:
More From The Atlantic
- Obama's Populism Isn't Enough to Save the Middle Class
- 5 Years Ago, iPhones and iPads Didn't Exist, and Now They're 75% of Apple
- The Real Crisis in College Sports: It's Wasted Money, Not Wasted Students
- the Federal Reserve
- Alan Greenspan