Secretary of Commerce Mickey Kantor and Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan:

Two Different Names, Two Different People




Many people confuse Mickey Kantor and Alan Greenspan. This mistake is easy to commit, as both men have strikingly similar appearances and exciting, high-level occupations. In fact, Greenspan once related a story in which an admirer approached him on the street – requesting an autograph on Kantor’s 1998 barley futures report! Despite their similarities, however, Kantor and Greenspan are unquestionably unique individuals.


    While both Greenspan and Kantor have similarly dark, German good looks, it is quite possible to tell them apart physically. For instance, the seventy-four-year-old Greenspan is significantly older than Kantor, who is middle-aged. Greenspan’s hair is thin and receding, contrasting Kantor’s thick, disheveled mane. Of the two, Kantor is also more likely to be compared to Bob Denver, television’s "Gilligan." Greenspan resembles a Hobbit, both in countenance and demeanor. Finally, while Greenspan speaks in a woodwind baritone, Kantor frequently lapses into a southern drawl.


    The two men also have different personalities. Kantor possesses a social straight-forwardness and no-nonsense attitude. Conversely, Greenspan is eccentric, vibrant and intriguing. Colleagues of Greenspan have related many stories about his flair for jazz piano and tennis, as well as his love for old jokes and morning baths. No such anecdotes exist about the pedantic Kantor. Kantor is also quite adept at maintaining a place in Washington's inner circle, and is often seen with the President. Greenspan is more reclusive and far less ambitious, both socially and politically.


    While both Kantor and Greenspan have jobs in the financial sector of the same country (America), they have distinct responsibilities and special skills. Kantor replaced the late Ron Brown as Secretary of Commerce just four years ago, while Greenspan has held his position as Federal Reserve Chairman since 1987. Kantor is renowned for his ability to use straight talk to get a job done, particularly in sensitive trade negotiations with the Japanese during his three-year tenure as the US Special Trade Representative. Greenspan, however, often uses convoluted language and long, complex sentences to prevent stock market speculators from making conjectures based on his statements.


    Alan Greenspan and Mickey Kantor are both superlative public servants, but they are also two distinctive men who serve their country (America) in very different ways. As one learns more about the two, one learns just how exciting those differences are.