Documents: Federal Reserve leaders laughed as financial crisis loomed

In his first meeting as Fed chairman, in March 2006, Ben S. Bernanke noted the slowdown in the housing market. But he said he shared the view that “strong fundamentals support a relatively soft landing in housing,” adding: “I think we are unlikely to see growth being derailed by the housing market.”

The year began with adulation all around for Greenspan. In that January meeting, Roger Ferguson, then Fed vice chairman and now head of the TIAA-CREF financial services group, called Greenspan a “monetary policy Yoda.”

Janet L. Yellen, then president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and now the Fed’s vice chair, told Greenspan “that the situation you’re handing off to your successor is a lot like a tennis racket with a gigantic sweet spot.”…

The 2006 transcripts show that Fed officials — like most economists on the outside — considered tremors in the financial markets as not much to worry about. Some were even a source of humor.

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