Questioning Alan

QUESTIONING ALAN….In the LA Times today, Warren Vieth has a piece that raises the question of whether Alan Greenspan will support George Bush’s Social Security privatization plan:

“His input is important,” said Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. “With someone of Chairman Greenspan’s stature, everyone would rather have him on their side than against them.”

….If Greenspan signals his support this week for Bush’s private account plan, or voices no objections to the initial borrowing it would entail, it could improve the president’s prospects in what is shaping up as the biggest legislative battle of Bush’s second term, according to congressional insiders and independent analysts.

I wish this were something of a genuine mystery, but it’s hard to see how. After all, Greenspan long ago demonstrated his unqualified fealty to George Bush, prostituting his long held beliefs in front of the entire world by worrying publicly about deficits as long as Bill Clinton was president and then suddenly switching course and deciding they weren’t so bad as soon as George Bush took office.

What’s more, Greenspan’s policy preferences are already well known: he’s in favor of private accounts and he’s against tax increases. So if he takes any position at all, it’s almost certain to be one in support of privatization combined with benefit cuts. And since Bush is anxious to keep the benefit cut part of his proposal hidden deep below the surface of public debate, Greenspan will almost certainly help out by mentioning cuts only in passing and in even more Delphic inarticulateness than usual.

Sure, he might surprise us. But the odds are against it. He picked his team long ago.

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