Taking on Greenspan

March 6th, 2005 – 8:56 pm
Tagged as: Uncategorized

Last week Paul Krugman had a great column in the Times that took on the idea that Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan is some sort of unbiased observer who only recommends what’s best for the economy as a whole. In fact, Greenspan has long been in favor many of the worst of the Republican supply-side trickle-down voodoo economics.

our years ago, Alan Greenspan urged Congress to cut taxes, asserting that the federal government was in imminent danger of paying off too much debt.

On Wednesday the Fed chairman warned Congress of the opposite fiscal danger: he asserted that there would be large budget deficits for the foreseeable future, leading to an unsustainable rise in federal debt. But he counseled against reversing the tax cuts, calling instead for cuts in Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Does anyone still take Mr. Greenspan’s pose as a nonpartisan font of wisdom seriously?

When Mr. Greenspan made his contorted argument for tax cuts back in 2001, his reputation made it hard for many observers to admit the obvious: he was mainly looking for some way to do the Bush administration a political favor. But there’s no reason to be taken in by his equally weak, contorted argument against reversing those cuts today.

He’s not the only one to have criticized Greenspan over the past week either. Senator Harry Reid took a whack at the Fed Chairman’s overinflated reputation too.

Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan generally gets accolades for his public pronouncements. Yesterday he got a brickbat from Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), who blasted Greenspan as “one of the biggest political hacks we have here in Washington.”

Reid ripped Greenspan during an interview on CNN’s “Inside Politics.” He said the Fed chairman has given President Bush a pass on deficits that have built up in the past four years and should be challenging Republicans on their fiscal policies, rather than promoting Bush’s plan to introduce personal accounts into Social Security.

“I’m not a big Greenspan fan — Alan Greenspan fan,” Reid said when asked about the Fed chairman’s testimony this week urging Congress to deal quickly with the financial problems facing Social Security and Medicare. “I voted against him the last two times. I think he’s one of the biggest political hacks we have in Washington.”

I think that pretty much sums it up.

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