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Tilting at Windmills

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September 14, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

GREENSPAN SPEAKS!....INTELLIGIBLY, THAT IS....Of the six presidents Alan Greenspan has served under, which one was the most economically illiterate? Bloomberg offers the answer from Greenspan's forthcoming book:

Greenspan saved his harshest analysis for the current president. Soon after Bush took office in 2001, the president set about implementing a campaign promise to cut taxes, a policy Greenspan said he believed at the time wasn't well conceived.

"Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences," he wrote.

In 2001 testimony before Congress, Greenspan was widely interpreted to have endorsed Bush's proposed tax cuts. In the book, he characterized his testimony as politically careless and said his words were misinterpreted.

Politically careless, eh? That's not really a trait I associate with Alan Greenspan, so color me skeptical. Still, at least he has the good sense to be embarrassed by his conduct at the time. I guess that's something.

And as long as we're on the subject, which president was the most economically literate? According to this self-described "lifelong libertarian Republican," it was Bill Clinton, who displayed "a consistent, disciplined focus on long-term economic growth." How 'bout them apples?

In other news, Greenspan says congressional Republicans "swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose." He blames the housing bubble on the fall of communism and says he has no regrets about doing nothing to stop it. Deflation was a bigger concern. Also: globalization is starting to wind down, and with it the downward pressure on inflation it's produced for the past couple of decades. Keeping inflation low is going to be a lot harder in the future than it has been until now.

Thus sayeth Greenspan.

Kevin Drum 8:32 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (101)

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Comments

Greenspan is responsible for making the housing bubble much worse, by encouraging people to take out ARMs and thereby spend more on homes than they could afford.

Posted by: Joe Buck on September 14, 2007 at 8:35 PM | PERMALINK

Here I was hopin' ole Pruneface said Bush was dumber than a sack of assholes....

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 14, 2007 at 8:43 PM | PERMALINK

what joe buck said. greenspan says he didn't see the subprime meltdown coming? he helped create it.

Posted by: mudwall jackson on September 14, 2007 at 8:46 PM | PERMALINK

I think history will look favorably on Clinton, in part because of comments like Greenspan's.

I still can't figure out why Dems don't successfully claim the mantle of fiscal responsibility. By comparison with the Republicans, they have certainly earned it.

Posted by: tubino on September 14, 2007 at 8:48 PM | PERMALINK

According to this self-described "lifelong libertarian Republican," it was Bill Clinton, who displayed "a consistent, disciplined focus on long-term economic growth." How 'bout them apples?

Makes perfect sense. Both the stock market and the larger economy do much better under Democratic presidencies than under Republican ones.

Posted by: Stefan on September 14, 2007 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

"Little value was placed on rigorous economic policy debate or the weighing of long-term consequences," he wrote.

If Admiral Fallon can call Petraeus "a little ass-kissing chickenshit", what's so hard about just saying "tax cuts are a bad idea"...?

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on September 14, 2007 at 9:17 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with him that deflation was (is) a bigger concern

Posted by: ed_finnerty on September 14, 2007 at 9:18 PM | PERMALINK

Politically careless? I recall an evening news story from early 2001 (late Jan? Feb?) about a visit Greenspan made to the White House (maybe it was a transition period meeting at the Ranch?) to consult with the new President.

I imagined at the time that the consultation went not unlike those held by Mafia Dons. Shortly thereafter, Greenspan testified in front of Congress, poking his monetary policy nose into fiscal policy business, and told everybody that everything was hunky-dory with the tax cut.

What a tool.

Posted by: Model 62 on September 14, 2007 at 9:25 PM | PERMALINK


So now we know what Greenspan thinks...

But what does Al think?

h

Posted by: hancock on September 14, 2007 at 9:26 PM | PERMALINK

Politically careless, eh? That's not really a trait I associate with Alan Greenspan, so color me skeptical.

Yeah, economics and high finance isn't my scene, so I'd hesitate to make a judgment, but from the heavy doses of Krugman's writing I've taken and put faith in, this isn't the kind of thing I've come to associate with Greenspan. My guess is that his diving-rod like sense have told him that it's expedient to be more candid now, whereas before he was thinking times called for deferring to Bush. I don't think Greenspan is particularly honest, but I do think he is independent.

Posted by: Swan on September 14, 2007 at 9:35 PM | PERMALINK

diving-rod

Whoa, "divining-rod" is what I meant- oops.

Posted by: Swan on September 14, 2007 at 9:36 PM | PERMALINK

I bet Krugman feels vindicated by this.

Posted by: Swan on September 14, 2007 at 9:38 PM | PERMALINK

Greenspan blames the housing bubble on the fall of Communism??

Boy howdy, that was sure one delayed reaction!

Nah, I don't buy it either.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on September 14, 2007 at 9:40 PM | PERMALINK

Fuck Greenspan and the horse he rode in on. He spun like a weathervane during his entire tenure as chairman of the Fed. Remember, this is the supposed financial mastermind that told Congress that surpluses were bad, thus giving his stamp of approval for the first of Bush's tax cuts. After Powell, he should be the most reviled public "servant" of the first Bush term.

Posted by: JeffII on September 14, 2007 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

...economics and high finance isn't my scene

...but I get the sense that a lot of intellectually-rigorous economists are closet Democrats, and just ostensibly Republican for the showbiz-aspect of their profession.

Posted by: Swan on September 14, 2007 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

"diving-rod"

Ooooh, if only

Posted by: A blushing Andrea M on September 14, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

Obviously, Greenspan is trying to paper over his partisanship during the Bush years in order to clean up his legacy. The housing bubble was the engine Greenspan conjured to drive the economy during Bush's presidency.

Posted by: Norman on September 14, 2007 at 9:48 PM | PERMALINK

It's nice to see that Greenspan finally recognizes that he was complicit in this disaster. Now only Cheney and Bush are unable to recognize how much harm they have done to the country. Sad.

Posted by: freelunch on September 14, 2007 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Just wondering if his wife, a whore for the GOP, agreed that Bill Clinton did the best economically.

Posted by: bob on September 14, 2007 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

So, how's that deficit coming lately?

Posted by: harry on September 14, 2007 at 9:50 PM | PERMALINK

It's nice to see that Greenspan finally recognizes that he was complicit in this disaster. Now only Cheney and Bush are unable to recognize how much harm they have done to the country. Sad. Posted by: freelunch

Too little five years too late. As I said above, along with Powell, Greenspan is most responsible for the financial and geo-political sink holes we find ourselves in today. May they both burn in hell.

Posted by: JeffII on September 14, 2007 at 9:57 PM | PERMALINK

Greenspan is a fucking whore. He sold whatever honor and wisdom he had for another term under Bush. His whoring caused the housing bubble. His "wisdom" and "sense" were always way overstated. His incompetence is what will put us into the next recession, which is now coming into view.

Posted by: POed Lib on September 14, 2007 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Greenspan was the most partisan Fed Chairman in history. He kept the Fed Funds rate way too low during the Unelected One's presidency, thereby exacerbating the subprime debacle we find ourselves in now. He kept them artificially high during Clinton's term. He is a gaping asshole.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 14, 2007 at 10:04 PM | PERMALINK

To follow up on on Tubino's comment, I'd love to think that Dems are fiscally responsible, but that was the era of divided government, which usually brings spending down. They could be the low-spending party, but I believe they are too lazy.
As for Clinton himself, he will come out looking like Thomas Jefferson compared to W.

Posted by: Lux on September 14, 2007 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

I'll repeat again: What would anyone expect from a disciple of Ayn Rand?

Posted by: Joe Klein's conscience on September 14, 2007 at 10:25 PM | PERMALINK

Harry:

If you knew anything at all about how the deficit is reported you would be embarrassed that you posted that link. The goverment records these figures on a cash basis, meaning that they simply offset the cash received against the cash spent. Most high income taxpayers pay their estimated taxes using the "safe harbor" method of 110% of the prior year taxes. This has resulted in huge cash payments when at the end of the year many will realize that they got their clock cleaned and the goverment owes them most of those payments back.

Next year will result in the biggest deficit ever, the biggest for Bush (who already owns the record) aand one that we should all hope never occurs again. This will all depend on how much damage has been done to the goverment long term. I'm hoping that we can crawl out, but this is going to be a lot tougher than most of you think.

Posted by: Jay Perry, CPA on September 14, 2007 at 10:38 PM | PERMALINK

Politically careless? I recall an evening news story from early 2001 (late Jan? Feb?) about a visit Greenspan made to the White House (maybe it was a transition period meeting at the Ranch?) to consult with the new President.

I imagined at the time that the consultation went not unlike those held by Mafia Dons. Shortly thereafter, Greenspan testified in front of Congress, poking his monetary policy nose into fiscal policy business, and told everybody that everything was hunky-dory with the tax cut.
What a tool.
--Model 62

The way I remember it, Greenspan was called to the White House during Bush’s first week in office. When he left, he looked very angry, but he wouldn’t tell anyone what was said. I have always wondered what orders he was given that he didn’t agree with. He seemed to lose his independence after that.


Posted by: emmarose on September 14, 2007 at 10:43 PM | PERMALINK

Model 62 is right.

Fuck Alan Greenspan.

He's another George Tenet.

Back when he could have done something useful, he shilled for the counterproductive, disastrous tax cuts/invasion.

"Oh, nobody asked me specifically that question," they both say now.

Profiles in cowardice.

Posted by: Snagglepuss on September 14, 2007 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Alan Greenspan may not have thought his remarks were "politically careless" when he made them back in 2001, but I believe his retrospective sincerity. He doesn't appear to be making excuses for what he said, and is publicly admitting a big mistake on his part -- which is far more than I can say for that sorry excuse we have for a presidential administration.

Therefore, I'm sort of inclined to be a little gracious here. But I'm also quite open to being talked out of it, if anyone cares to make a case for no mercy.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 14, 2007 at 10:51 PM | PERMALINK

Apparently we forget the S&L scandel in the 1980`s. Same senario different date. Cut taxes let the trickle down effect begin. More money at the top breeds more greed, so if you can loan $ at 25 to 30% then money goes to the numbers. Then lo and behold most people barely survive paycheck to paycheck. Add 38% more to thier payment and they can`t do it. Surprise, Suprise it didn`t happen in the past as many times as they tried and still won`t happen. History bites.

Posted by: Leonard on September 14, 2007 at 10:59 PM | PERMALINK

Greenspan. On the one hand, some evidence he may have (or at least have had, at some point) some brains in his head. On the other hand, the fact that he's a devotee of Ayn Rand. Clearly the latter demonstrates the limitations of the former.

Goddess save us from arrested adolescents with delusions of superman status.

Posted by: DrBB on September 14, 2007 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

I will NEVER forgive Greenspan for advising people to get ARMs when mortgage interest rates were at 40 year lows.

Not everyone can be savvy and new home buyers rely on "experts" to help them make decisions.

I don't forgive him--Greenspan should burn in hell.

Posted by: JoyousMN on September 14, 2007 at 11:20 PM | PERMALINK

Donald from Hawaii-- if he were misinterpreted, he had ample opportunity to correct the misconception. He had access to the media. And at the time of his testimony, it was WIDELY reported that he had offered support for the tax cuts. It's yet another matter on which Krugman was prescient and ahead of the curve at the time.

No. No quarter for Greenspan. It would have taken courage to (1) not say the stuff that everyone in the world thought meant he was supporting the tax cuts, or (2) corrected the misconception.

Instead, long after the verdict of history is in, he joins Colin Powell and Jack Goldsmith and John DiIullo and Paul O'Neill and George Tenet and (less so) James Comey and Christine Todd Whitman.

Now that it has no effect and does nothing but make you look self-serving, admit that the Bush administration is as morally bankrupt as the country is financially.

Thanks.

Woulda been nice when it mattered.

Posted by: Elvis Elvisberg on September 14, 2007 at 11:22 PM | PERMALINK

Pardon me if I say "Fuck Greenspan and the whore he rides home on."

Posted by: jerry on September 14, 2007 at 11:47 PM | PERMALINK

Next year will result in the biggest deficit ever, the biggest for Bush (who already owns the record) and one that we should all hope never occurs again.

Really? Want to lay some odds on that? So far almost every prediction the CBO has made has had to be revised downward over the years, and even they're predicting a smaller deficit for FY2008. I'm sure there's an accountant or two working there, too.

Posted by: harry on September 15, 2007 at 12:06 AM | PERMALINK

I seem to recall Bush's latest hagiographer citing his incisive deflation of an unnamed economist at a White Briefing as evidence of his intellect. Now I'd like to know who that economist was, what he said and what Bush said. I can imagine, but nothing compares to reality these days.

Posted by: Steve Paradis on September 15, 2007 at 12:16 AM | PERMALINK

So, how's that Federal debt* coming lately?
See for yourself. Rumors it's "slowing" are horseshit. Bush is spending money faster than a raped ape.

09/13/2007 9,016,288,006,279.21
09/30/2006 8,506,973,899,215.23
09/30/2005 7,932,709,661,723.50
09/30/2004 7,379,052,696,330.32
09/30/2003 6,783,231,062,743.62
09/30/2002 6,228,235,965,597.16
09/30/2001 5,807,463,412,200.06
09/30/2000 5,674,178,209,886.86

Source:http://www.treasurydirect.gov/govt/reports/pd/histdebt/histdebt_histo5.htm

Posted by: Glen on September 15, 2007 at 12:53 AM | PERMALINK

Greensap is a Republican, thus a liar. Who cares what he says?

Posted by: craigie on September 15, 2007 at 12:59 AM | PERMALINK

May his Ayn Rand altar fall off the mantle and crush both him & his wife to death

Better than either of them deserves

"Honesty is the best policy - when there is money in it." - Mark Twain

Posted by: daCasacadian on September 15, 2007 at 1:59 AM | PERMALINK

Even I knew the sub-prime crash was coming, but Ray Raygun and Comma-nism bus-chocks for the crash? The securitisation scheme is Pooty-Poots Fault!!

I am not surprised that the Republicans would do such dumb things for power.

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 15, 2007 at 2:08 AM | PERMALINK

Well, now that he has gotten his tell^H^H^H^H spin-all out and is raking in the bucks, let me be one of many to offer Greenspan a warm cup of STFU.

Posted by: F. Frederson on September 15, 2007 at 2:16 AM | PERMALINK

We all reserve the right to revisit our original opinions and make the needed corrections.
All of the writings that more accurately reflect on this administration will assist historians in assessing this president, and I find that comforting, given all the scams, abuses, irresponsibility.

"Today, more that forty cents of every discretionary dollar the government spends goes to a
for-profit contractor. 'At some point, people are going to say, "Holy shit, what's left of the government?" says Danielle Brian, director of the Project on Government Oversight..." as noted by writer Tim Dickinson

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 15, 2007 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

And yeahuhh, it will be hard to keep inflation low with oil at 80bucks a barrel and the dollar at a low, the job rates at a 4 year low, backloaded taxes, a runaway deficit, housing starts at a low, and war paid on emergency expeditures and loans from China.

Thank God people dont have any money to spend at Wal-Mart, eh?
/sarcon

Posted by: Ya Know... on September 15, 2007 at 2:45 AM | PERMALINK

Harry is so blinded by the fascist’s propaganda machine (i.e. FoxNews, Rush, Coulter, etc.), that he doesn’t realize the reported federal budget deficits are fictional. Click here for more details. They don’t include the costs of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and “off-budget” items like the CIA’s spending (which, incidentally, is unconstitutional). The real annual budget deficit under the Unelected One is more in the neighborhood of $500 – 750 billion annually and we will be bankrupt soon – count on it.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 15, 2007 at 6:42 AM | PERMALINK

Google this (It's a three parter and does that whore Greenspan to a turn.):


THE WIZARD OF BUBBLELAND - Henry C K Liu

"Beautiful credit! The foundation of modern society. Who shall say that this is not the golden age of mutual trust, of unlimited reliance upon human promises? That is a peculiar condition of society which enables a whole nation to instantly recognize point and meaning in the familiar newspaper anecdote, which puts into the mouth of a distinguished speculator in lands and mines this remark: “I wasn’t worth a cent two years ago, and now I owe two millions of dollars.”

The Gilded Age: A Tale of Today
Mark Twain & Charles Dudley Warner

Posted by: MsNThrope on September 15, 2007 at 8:23 AM | PERMALINK

Greenspan was opposed to the Mission Accomplished tax cuts, which he felt were not necessary. Why did he knuckle under? Why didn't he show some courage when it could have made a difference.

Krugman is going to dine out on this.

Posted by: bob h on September 15, 2007 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

Charlie, er harry, er Charlie is trying to make wagers once again.

Greenspan is attempting to "Save his legacy" - He should follow Gonzo and simply look in the mirror - Gonzo recently took up shaving and after seeing his image, said "I have seen tyranny, dishonesty, corruption and depravity of types, I never thought possible"

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 15, 2007 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

"diving-rod" ... Ooooh, if only

Posted by: A blushing Andrea M

Actually, Andrea, as you should know all too well, the words are transposed. The correct terminology to describe the family's propensity to please is "rod-diving."

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 15, 2007 at 9:52 AM | PERMALINK

"He blames the housing bubble on the fall of communism and says he has no regrets about doing nothing to stop it.

Now that is about as kooky and idiotic a statement as I've heard in some time and this fellow was Oracle of Wall Street?

Greenspan will be remembered as "Alan the Bubble" because on his watch were two of the biggest economic boom and bust cycles in U.S. history, the dot-com boom and the housing boom and both fueled by the neglibile interest rates, cheap credit and weak dollar policies he persued. Far from being the sober-minded, conservative institution of the past, this so-called libertarian made the Fed look like William Jennings Bryan in opening up the credit markets for every Tom, Dick and Harry even if they couldn't afford it. Cheap credit, cheap silver, same thing.

And when some bank or big mutual or hedge fund threatened to go belly up from bad investments, Greenspan was always there to bail them out. Yes, once again this so-called "libertarian" acted in the fashion of the New Deal. A real libertarian would have let Long-Term Capital Management go bust as the way the market corrects "irrational exuberance." But once a socialist bailed out a capitalist.

Oh, never let it be said that Greenspan wasn't the best friend the credit industry ever had.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on September 15, 2007 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

Without elaborating, Greenspan also observes: “I am saddened that it is
politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

Posted by: consider wisely always on September 15, 2007 at 10:03 AM | PERMALINK

I like the part about the third world running out of people willing to work for nothing thereby providing upward pressure on wages in the US.

He's either senile or he thinks we are all senile.

Posted by: B on September 15, 2007 at 10:05 AM | PERMALINK

And when some bank or big mutual or hedge fund threatened to go belly up from bad investments, Greenspan was always there to bail them out. Yes, once again this so-called "libertarian" acted in the fashion of the New Deal. A real libertarian would have let Long-Term Capital Management go bust as the way the market corrects "irrational exuberance." But once a socialist bailed out a capitalist.

He's not a libertarian; he's a Randroid. And if you brush away the dross from Rand's stuff it amounts to nothing more than 'Yay Elites!' Bailing out the elite people with cheap paper wasn't a shameful favor, it was the entire point. Likewise, getting more poor fish to screw themselves by signing up for ARMs meant more money for rich people. That's all he's ever been about, going all the way back to 1987.

m, he's the once and future apparatchik

Posted by: max on September 15, 2007 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

"a Randian" -

But, how would Ayn Rand view him today? Selling out to Shrub and suggesting he misjudged the sub-primes even though his fingerprints are all over the ARMs, does not make him a "striver for excellence" - Alan G is no Howard Roark.

I believe that Rand would cast him off The Fountain Head.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 15, 2007 at 11:03 AM | PERMALINK

People never resign based on principal anymore, do they?

Suck on the poisoned tit until they can retire in comfort.

Seems to be awfully common these days, just as it was during the 40's wih certain Germanic country.

Posted by: Neal on September 15, 2007 at 11:12 AM | PERMALINK

harry, for the record, the deficit that matters is the general fund deficit: using the social security surplus to mask it is the work of charlatans and liars.

in fact, it's quite easy to tell the right-wing phonies: they're the ones who want to count the social security surplus in when they're talking about the deficit, but also the ones who tell us that the IOUs to the trust fund are meaningless (so yes, that means the phonies start with the shallow little man in the oval office).

Posted by: howard on September 15, 2007 at 11:18 AM | PERMALINK

Maybe the Ayn Randianism is part of his showbiz, like I talked about in earlier comments. Maybe Greenspan is just another guy who's been threatened by the Rove machine, and reigned himself in to keep his lie from being destroyed.

I doubt a lot of you have the (not that extraordinary) courage it takes to defy these bastards if they had something on you an indicated they wanted to press you.

And a lot of liberals are dumb Ayn Randians.

Just note that now he realizes it's going to mar his memory, Greenspan is throwing Bushie off. He is retired from being the Fed Chair, so he's got less exposure, but nontheless he's still beating a lot of people (who seem to need to wait for his term to be over, and have a lot less reason to be expected to be Bush supporters than Greenspan) to the punch. At least he's saying something.

Posted by: Swan on September 15, 2007 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

and reigned himself in to keep his lie from being destroyed.

should be and reined himself in to keep his life from being destroyed

That's a typo, not a Freudian slip, of course

Posted by: Swan on September 15, 2007 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

It's amazing that all the brats feel the need to come out the woodwork to talk shit about a guy when he steps up and talks some stuff about Bush before the clock runs out, while they themselves all sit in the relative safety of their safe place. The left activists have failed America at least as much as anybody. We had no demonstrations surrounding this Petraeus thing. What was up with that? Is everybody letting the shady activists make the decisions for them? You all want an end to the Iraq war and claim to be the ones who (out of everyone) care about the soldiers who are dying, but history will show it seems that a lot more could have been done towards ending the war. The people who were in the best positions to pull those strings won't do it though, and as an excuse they'll blame the ones who comparatively weren't for not doing anything.

I don't know a lot about Greenspan so maybe my defense isn't worth that much, but it sounds like the comments might be unfair.

Posted by: Swan on September 15, 2007 at 11:51 AM | PERMALINK

B:Actually that's true. Pretty much everything that can be off-shored already has been. There might be pockets, but most of the damage is already done. It's mostly a hands-on service economy left, and that really can't be off-shored. There's also management, and that WON'T be off-shored, for obvious reasons.

The disgusting part is that Greenspan and his ilk see rising wages as a bad thing. Not only is it unethical, but the entire premise is overly simplistic and wrong. (Yes, I realize I'm calling a large part of the entire field of Economics wrong. So sue me)

Inflation CAN occur due to rising costs. However, this requires costs per unit to overtake prices (DUH), the question is, are we anywhere close to that point? Somebody should do a study of that, ya know.

No, in most markets prices increase because that's what the market is willing to pay. Basic supply and demand. The prices will go as high as they can go, where the most people will pay for it, and make the most revenue.

Posted by: Karmakin on September 15, 2007 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on September 15, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Just note that now he realizes it's going to mar his memory, Greenspan is throwing Bushie off. He is retired from being the Fed Chair, so he's got less exposure, but nontheless he's still beating a lot of people (who seem to need to wait for his term to be over, and have a lot less reason to be expected to be Bush supporters than Greenspan) to the punch. At least he's saying something.

Bill Cosby once said that the reason grandparents seemed so much nicer to your kids than they were to you as parents, is that you are looking at an old person trying to get into heaven.

I sometimes wonder if the backtracking you sometimes hear from retired conservatives is because you're looking at someone trying to get a university job or speaking engagements. What's Greenspan doing with his time now? Other than selling a book.

Posted by: harry on September 15, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

He blames the housing bubble on the fall of communism

Whaaah??

Posted by: kc on September 15, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

The left activists have failed America at least as much as anybody. We had no demonstrations surrounding this Petraeus thing. What was up with that? Posted by: Swan

We don't have a draft, that's why.

Next dumb question.

Posted by: JeffII on September 15, 2007 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

From the book:
…Today, Mr. Greenspan is indignant and chagrined about his role in the Bush tax cuts. “I’d have given the same testimony if Al Gore had been president,” he writes, complaining that his words had been distorted by supporters and opponents of the cuts….
Yeah, right. Two bubbles and this clown is claiming to be non-partisan. He's thinks every one else is clueless. His reputation is in tatters, and deservedly so.


….Want to lay some odds on that? So far almost every prediction the CBO has made has had to be revised downward….harryat 12:06 AM

The deficit numbers are smoke and mirrors. They do not account for the Social Security surplus nor off-budget items like Bush's jolly little wars. The only accurate measure is the increase in the national debt from year to year. You can't fudge the amount your overall ebt increases. Here are the numbers by year [xls] .
…. Andrea Mitchell, an NBC "News" propagandist. mhr at 12:03 PM |

No shit, Sherlock When did your mommy tell you? It's interesting how she always manages to spin the RNC party line.

Posted by: Mike on September 15, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

"ebt?
Where'd that d go? Anyone seen a d running around loose?

Posted by: Mike on September 15, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Elvis Elvisberg:"No. No quarter for Greenspan."

OK, you all convinced me. Let's keelhaul the scurvy dog -- and his media whore wife Andrea Mitchell, too.

mhr: "Greenspan's wife is Andrea Mitchell, an NBC 'News' propagandist."

Excuse me, I don't mean to be rude or impertinent, but you're not allowed to say anything except "*".

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on September 15, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

I sometimes wonder if the backtracking you sometimes hear from retired conservatives is because you're looking at someone trying to get a university job or speaking engagements.

Harry, the thing that makes sense for us to do when someone, like Greenspan, who carries a lot of credibility with a lot of people, comes out and bashes Bush, is to take that piece of gold and treat it like the piece of gold it is, as try to use it and find who to say "Look what Greenspan said about Bush" to. It doesn't make sense to, every time someone says something bad about Bush, listen to all the commenters (who knows who the hell they all are) who say "Greenspan is whore, his wife is a whore."

We don't have a draft, that's why.

JeffII, new challenges call for new responses. They don't call for us to sit on our hands, saying, "This challenge isn't like the challenge we faced before, so since we can't deal with it like we dealt with the old one, we better just sit at home and bitch over the computer." Make peope angry about the troops we are losing. Go to the troops' families. Go to their friend. Go to their communities and similar communities. When the Repubs talk about supporting the troops, you challenge it: what do they mean? Supporting the troops, who are basically slaves, have to obey eveyr order, can only disobey a very narrow set of orders, and anyway there aren't many cases of a soldier successfully disobeying orders on those grounds? Or supporting the people who aren't troops who sent them on that mission and gave them those orders? Because one isn't necessarily the other, and sending the troops on a bad mission isn's supporting the troops.

You figure out what works and you do something, you take every opportunity and try.

Posted by: Swan on September 15, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

"*" - Terse and succinct - Such a gift.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on September 15, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

Ms. Mitchell certainly is a Bush propagandist for NBC; glad to see mhr coming around.

I hope she continues for a long time, though. Nothing is more entertaining than watching her deliver lines like, "This occurred in the early 1930s, during the Harding administration," with her patented sneer. She makes a lulu like that at least once every time she's on the air, and she never corrects herself. Perhaps the fall of communism is responsible for her dumbassity.

Posted by: shortstop on September 15, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

Such a gift.

:) Naughty, naughty, Kid Shilene.

Posted by: shortstop on September 15, 2007 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

"ebt?
Where'd that d go? Anyone seen a d running around loose?
Posted by: Mike

The dog ate it.


“NOT only is there no God,” said Woody Allen, “but try getting a plumber on weekends.”

Posted by: MsNThrope on September 15, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Greenspan says in 2007:
"In 2001 testimony before Congress, Greenspan was widely interpreted to have endorsed Bush's proposed tax cuts. In the book, he characterized his testimony as politically careless and said his words were misinterpreted."

So if Greenspan thought his words were misinterpreted in 2001, why was he still defending the policy in 2005? From the Washington Post, March 16, 2005

"Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan yesterday defended his support of tax cuts in 2001 after Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) suggested that he bears some blame for helping create the federal budget deficits that followed those cuts."
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36514-2005Mar15.html

What still astounds me is why reporters can't seem to get contradictions like these in their articles. Shoot, I was writing research papers in the card catalogue, union lists, paper indexes, and note cards. The internet makes things awfully, awfully easy. I don't know what to conclude. Are reporters awfully, awfully uninterested? Are they awfully, awfully lazy? Are they generally incapable of using search engines? Is there another explanation?

Posted by: batavicus on September 15, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

'What's Greenspan doing with his time now?'
--Harry

Trying to get it hard for Andrea. I hear the Viagra truck makes twice a week deliveries...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on September 15, 2007 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

Count me as one of the people who thought that Greenspan working closely with a Bill C. got us fiscal and monetary policies that were about as good as we could expect.

Yeah, we had the dot-com bubble and perhaps Greenspan could have done more to prevent it or deal with it after it happened. Or maybe not. I'll forgive him for not having perfect foresight.

But then after whoring out his integrity for Bush's idiotic economic policies, he now tells us he was politically careless to have done so and that Clinton was a more economically literate president than Bush and America was the better for it. Thats unforgiveable.

Fuck you, Alan. You're six years too late.

Amazing how Bush got so many otherwise decent, intelligent people to shit all over themselves to advance an agenda everyone knew was intellectually muddled and morally craven.

Posted by: Auto on September 15, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

... the thing that makes sense for us to do when someone, like Greenspan, who carries a lot of credibility with a lot of people, comes out and bashes Bush, is to take that piece of gold and treat it like the piece of gold it is ... It doesn't make sense to ... say "Greenspan is whore, his wife is a whore."

Posted by: Swan

Bullshit. This clown -- whose responsibility was monetary policy -- had no business shooting off his mouth about fiscal policy. He clearly blessed Bush's tax cuts which were and are designed to feed the rich and starve the federal government, making it impossible to pay for needed programs.

For him to now say he was "careless" and "misunderstood" is a fucking travesty. And calling him a whore doesn't in any way reduce the negative impact of his Bush bashing.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 15, 2007 at 2:04 PM | PERMALINK

batavicus wrote:

So if Greenspan thought his words were misinterpreted in 2001, why was he still defending the policy in 2005? From the Washington Post, March 16, 2005

Whoa, you quoted him writing in 2007 that his words in 2001 were misquoted, then quoted him in 2005 defending the 2001 policy, and try to make it sound like he switched back and forth. That's dishonest, pal.

Econobuzz, you're the idiot. Calling him a whore takes away from his crediibility. He could be perfectly credible and not a whore if he backed up Bush before because he was scared of getting hurt before, but now he doesn't care about the threat or the threat is no longer there. I'm sure there are a lot of scared people out there that are not whores, and I'm sure Greenspan is ahead of most of him in peeking his head out from under the covers. Also calling someone a whore when he or she is not a whore is wrong. It's careless for all you people that don't know him to say such damaging things about him based on your ephemeral guesses and the cheerleading of a bunch of probably ill-intentioned blog commenters like Econobuzz.

Posted by: Swan on September 15, 2007 at 2:23 PM | PERMALINK

They do not account for the Social Security surplus

Yes they do, it's why the budget deficit is decreasing so much. The SS surplus accounts for around $200 billion (IIRC) this fiscal year and has been growing. As jobs and payroll grow, so does the SS surplus.

Posted by: TJM on September 15, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

"In 2001 testimony before Congress, Greenspan was widely interpreted to have endorsed Bush's proposed tax cuts. In the book, he characterized his testimony as politically careless and said his words were misinterpreted."

What a crock of shit. He wasn't misinterpreted; he was jumping on the bandwagon. Its not like he rushed to the cameras to "correct" the misimpression. Its not like he doesn't have access to the the media. I think wifey could get him some access if it came down to it.

The true elite in this country -- the economic elite -- got even greedier and decided they were going to grab a bigger piece of the pie for themselves. Even after gorging on Clinton's 90's pie in the biggest boom ever, the little piggies (in their starched white shirts) decided to hog down a bunch more slop in 2001.

Don't belive anything -- and I mean anything -- these known liars are selling. America is slowly, of necessity, sobering up from a 7-year binge of stupidity and self-delusion. Greenspan knows the truth can only be contained for so long.

Greenspan was a key enabler. Now that its obvious to people other than Paul Krugman that supply-side economics is an abject failure and that electing greedy supply-side peddlers reliably drives up the deficit, Greenspan is trying to control his reputation for posterity.

We'll never you scumbags live it down, Alan. We know what you did last summer. And the summer before that, and the summer before that...

Posted by: Junius Brutus on September 15, 2007 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

Swan: Whoa, you quoted him writing in 2007 that his words in 2001 were misquoted, then quoted him in 2005 defending the 2001 policy, and try to make it sound like he switched back and forth. That's dishonest, pal.

What the hell are you talking about? Did you even read batavicus' post? There was no switching back and forth, nor did batavicus imply that there was. bat's simple point was that Greenspan claims in 2007 that his 2001 words were misinterpreted. Yet, given six years of opportunity to correct such a misinterpretation, he did not do so until now. Indeed, in 2005 he was still defending his "misinterpreted" 2001 statement. Only after the Bush presidency is in flames and Greenspan is staring down at the wreckage of his reputation is he suddenly claiming he was misunderstood six years ago. The SOB doesn't even have the decency to admit now that he made a mistake and take responsibility for it.

That's dishonest, pal, and calling him a whore doesn't "take away from his credibility"; it's an observation on the absence of same. We get that you think any former Bush ally, servant or submissive who's now criticizing the administration should receive our tenderest compassion, encouragement and defense no matter the circumstances of his or her conversion, and no matter how much irreparable damage that person caused in his pre-enlightenment days.

What you don't seem to get is that most of us find this view to also be wandering into whore territory.

Posted by: shortstop on September 15, 2007 at 3:07 PM | PERMALINK

B:Actually that's true. Pretty much everything that can be off-shored already has been. There might be pockets, but most of the damage is already done. It's mostly a hands-on service economy left, and that really can't be off-shored. There's also management, and that WON'T be off-shored, for obvious reasons.

That dynamic doesn't put a positive pressure on wages here. An end to the downward spiral, maybe. Inflation will reach us a little bit more indirectly -- energy costs and a leveling off of competition between different foreign markets will drive prices up.

The manufacturing jobs won't be coming back and the net result of the process will simply be that we can't afford what we used to afford.

Posted by: B on September 15, 2007 at 3:12 PM | PERMALINK

Proof that Greenspan is a lying sack of shit here:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A36514-2005Mar15.html

The Washington Post reported in 2005:

"Greenspan reminded the committee that in January 2001, economists at the Office of Management and Budget, Congressional Budget Office and Federal Reserve all forecast higher federal surpluses. He supported tax cuts at that time, he said, adding that today "I would recommend exactly what I recommended then" if presented with the same information."

That doesn't sound like a man who was misinterpreted to me. His argument about why the tax cuts went wrong is also disingenuous. "Ohhh, how was I to know that Bush's OMB was lying about the supply-side effect of tax cuts?" Paul Krugman wasn't fooled by Bush's OMB. Neither was the Committee on Budget and Policy Priorities. That Greenspan chose to ignore those who know a lot more about economics -- and about fundamental honesty -- than he does is just another black mark on his shoddy record.

Greenspan's excuse is utter Orwellian bullshit, of course, but either way, he's on the record admitting that he supported the tax cuts in 2001 and reaffirming that support in 2005.

He wasn't misinterpreted. He's just trying to rewrite the historical record.

Posted by: Junius Brutus on September 15, 2007 at 3:17 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, well he also encouraged the current debacle by praising ARMs. That piece of ignorant Rah Rah is going to cost this country.

How can we trust the speaking of an "economist" who helped lead us into the current morass? And just how much can he dismiss a failure of that magnitude?

Posted by: Scorpio on September 15, 2007 at 3:29 PM | PERMALINK

Greenspan just hates America.

Posted by: Al on September 15, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

How can we trust the speaking of an "economist" who helped lead us into the current morass? And just how much can he dismiss a failure of that magnitude?

Posted by: Scorpio

greenspan = greenspin

But so many have said this so much better.

Posted by: slanted tom on September 15, 2007 at 5:01 PM | PERMALINK

harry: What's Greenspan doing with his time now?


like most retired conservatives...

he's hoping god forgives him...

Posted by: mr. irony on September 15, 2007 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

Whoa, you quoted him writing in 2007 that his words in 2001 were misquoted, then quoted him in 2005 defending the 2001 policy, and try to make it sound like he switched back and forth. That's dishonest, pal.

How?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on September 15, 2007 at 5:36 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop and Jeffrey Davis, did you two even read Batavicus' post?

He wrote:

Greenspan says in 2007:
"In 2001 testimony before Congress, Greenspan was widely interpreted to have endorsed Bush's proposed tax cuts. In the book, he characterized his testimony as politically careless and said his words were misinterpreted."

So if Greenspan thought his words were misinterpreted in 2001, why was he still defending the policy in 2005? From the Washington Post, March 16, 2005

So here's the actual timeline:
2001: Greenspan says "X"
2005: Greenspan says "X" again
[somewhere between the 2005 quote and the 2007 quote, something happens to cause Greenspan to change his mind about "X"]
2007: Greenspan backs off from X, and says his original words about X were misinterpreted

???

How many times do people do that? How many times do people change their minds about something and back off of something?

It doesn't make him a dishonest jerk, without more.

But the way batavicus' wrote his post tends to make your eyes skip over the original 2007, becuase it's written to make it sound like he's saying "In 2001, Greenspan thought his words were misinterpreted, but then he defended it in 2005 (i.e., before now- and the words of Greenspan you just read about in Kev's post)" which isn't at all the case, because Greenspan just: 1) thought A first 2) then changed his mind to B. Whoa, big deal- it's what honest people do all the time.

Posted by: Swan on September 15, 2007 at 6:04 PM | PERMALINK

Jeffrey Davis wrote:

How?

Because Greenspan didn't switch back and forth, he just changed once.

Posted by: Swan on September 15, 2007 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Because Greenspan didn't switch back and forth, he just changed once.

And if you'd actually read batavicus' post, you'd have seen that was exactly what he/she was saying: That Greenspan is only now claiming he was misinterpreted in 2001; in the intervening period, he's always defended his "misinterpreted" words. No "switching back and forth" by Greenspan was even remotely implied. Just switching now to try to rewrite his whole previous record.

The chronology is perfectly clear and straightforward in batavicus' post. Yet you promptly got mixed up and accused batavicus of being "dishonest"--and then impugned Econobuzz's motives as a bonus. Sheesh. Unguided missile much?

Posted by: shortstop on September 15, 2007 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

But the way batavicus' wrote his post tends to make your eyes skip over the original 2007,

No. No, it doesn't, if you possess a basic level of reading comprehension.

Dude, stop digging the hole. You're going to hit Tasmania. And while you're putting away the shovel, you might just apologize to batavicus for the slur resulting from your confusion.

Posted by: shortstop on September 15, 2007 at 6:19 PM | PERMALINK

Swan:

LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL. Are you fucking retarded?

You said:

So here's the actual timeline:
2001: Greenspan says "X"
2005: Greenspan says "X" again
[somewhere between the 2005 quote and the 2007 quote, something happens to cause Greenspan to change his mind about "X"]
2007: Greenspan backs off from X, and says his original words about X were misinterpreted

Just to give a conservatard who is obviously out of his depth a helping hand, I put the key part of what you yourself said in bold. You see, Swan, you can't say "X" in 2001 and in 2005 say you said "X" in 2001 and then in 2007 say you were misinterpreted about "X" in 2001. If he had been misinterprted about "X" in 2001, we would expect Greenspan to say "Not-X" either later in 2001 or in 2005. The fact that he confirmed "X" in 2005 means he's a lying sack of shit when he says "Not-X" in 2007.

Wingnuts and logic/truth/reality. It's like oil and water.


Posted by: Junius Brutus on September 15, 2007 at 6:20 PM | PERMALINK

Econobuzz ... He could be perfectly credible and not a whore if he backed up Bush before because he was scared of getting hurt before ... I'm sure there are a lot of scared people out there that are not whores ...

Posted by: Swan

If Greenspan admits that he supported Bush's tax cuts because he was scared, I will gladly retract my claim that he is a whore and give him the benefit of the doubt of being a coward.

Posted by: Econobuzz on September 15, 2007 at 6:35 PM | PERMALINK

I am telling you all, again, that you will replace far fewer keyboards that die after you bang your head on them repeatedly if you will just have a slice of pie. Some comments are just not worth reading, let alone the frustration you feel at the palpable stupid.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on September 15, 2007 at 7:15 PM | PERMALINK

"It doesn't make him a dishonest jerk, without more."

Yes, actually, it does, particularly since we have "more." Greenspan is insisting now that he was misinterpreted six years ago? That's complete crap.

- The interpretation of his words has not changed over time. If he truly was misinterpreted, it occurred when he first spoke out.

- What Greenspan said then was big news. It was covered by all of the national media. There is simply no way on earth that Greenspan would not have known that his words were being "misinterpreted," nor could he have missed the politican and financial impact of those words.

- Greenspan, at that time, had a huge megaphone on economic issues, bigger than anyone else's. Had his words truly been misinterpreted, it would have been trivially easy for him to set the record straight and he would have gotten national airtime for the correction.

- Had Greenspan truly been misinterpreted, he would not have stood by those words four years later. He would, at the very least, spoken up at that time to claim he was "misinterpreted." He did not do so.

In short, Greenspan is trying to rewrite the record, and being rather obviously dishonest as he does so.

"But the way batavicus' wrote his post tends to make your eyes skip over the original 2007"

Only if you are incapable of reading. Nobody else on this thread had any problem understanding the point that was made. You just didn't like the point, so you launched a clumsy ad hominem attack. And you compounded the error when you got called out by digging the hole deeper and deeper.

You said something stupid and you got caught; deal with it.

Posted by: PaulB on September 15, 2007 at 10:11 PM | PERMALINK

"How many times do people do that? How many times do people change their minds about something and back off of something?"

And if Greenspan had done that, you'd have a point. But that's not what he did. He could have said: "What I said then was wrong." What he actually said was, "I was misinterpreted." That's not "changing his mind" or "backing off."

Posted by: PaulB on September 15, 2007 at 10:18 PM | PERMALINK

Why would anyone be surprised by Greenspan's praise of Clinton's intellect? Everyone knows he is extraordinarily smart and, on an issue like the economy which involves relatively few political interests contrary to the country's interestes, I would expect Clinton to be, in Kevin's words, highly "economically literate." I don't think that Presidents have a great deal to do with a good economy (although they do have the ability to cause problems), but my guess is that Clinton would be excellent in a discussion with Greenspan about the economy. I also don't think Clinton did anything that had a significant adverse impact on the economy.

As to Greenspan's crticisim of the lack of fiscal restraint among republicans, I think the criticism is valid, but I would be surprised if he says the democrats would have done better - I have not seen any coverage of what he said about democrats (other than Clinton).

Posted by: brian on September 16, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK


Greenspan blames the housing bubble on the fall of Communism??
Boy howdy, that was sure one delayed reaction!
Nah, I don't buy it either.

Unless he defines "End of Communism" as "Rise of China." The statement isn't as kooky as it sounds.. a large component of the RE bubble was caused by low interest rates, which was only possible because there was low inflation, which was caused by low-cost Chinese manufactueres.

Posted by: Andy on September 16, 2007 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK


So, how's that deficit coming lately?
Posted by: harry

Or more importantly, how's the debt coming lately?

Monthly debt

Posted by: Andy on September 16, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

It has been said here and other places, but Greenspan's message is clear: "Protect the Legacy!"

The only interesting thing is his high praise for Clinton because Greenspan's reappointment is absolutely one of Clinton's biggest mistakes.

Posted by: TFisher on September 16, 2007 at 2:44 PM | PERMALINK

Just curious, but what is the deal on Greenspan’s sexual preferences? Not that it matters if he is actually gay. It would be useful if the public knew that such a prominent and powerful person lived in the closet his whole life.

Posted by: Chris Crocker on September 16, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

Now only Cheney and Bush are unable to recognize how much harm they have done to the country.

You forget the 30% of wingnuts/x-ianists/morons who still support them.

Posted by: Jenna's Bush on September 17, 2007 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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