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.