GREENSPAN STEPS ALL OVER THE GOP MESSAGE…. One of the week’s more relevant political debates has been over tax policy — specifically the Republican argument that Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy have to be extended. Pressed on how those cuts would be paid for, the Republican leadership has insisted, evidence be damned, that tax cuts don’t need to be offset by anything.

Alan Greenspan is rarely helpful in debates like these, which is why it came as something of a pleasant surprise to see him reject the entire Republican line of thinking. (via Atrios)

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, whose endorsement of George W. Bush’s 2001 tax cuts helped persuade Congress to pass them, said lawmakers should allow the cuts to expire at the end of the year.

“They should follow the law and let them lapse,” Greenspan said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff,” citing a need for the tax revenue to reduce the federal budget deficit.

It’s worth noting that when it comes to tax cuts, Greenspan went even further than most Democrats want to go, arguing that all of Bush’s tax cuts have to expire on schedule, including those for the middle class.

The former Fed chairman said he wants to see tax rates return to ’90s levels in order to curtail the deficit.

I guess he hasn’t heard the news about tax cuts paying for themselves?

Joan McCarter added, “Of course, note that [Greenspan] doesn’t say that he was instrumental in enacting those major tax cuts. Bygones.”

Right. The Bush tax cuts passed at least in part because Greenspan assured lawmakers the policy would improve the economy and that the nation could afford them. Republicans heralded his genius and followed his advice. We now know he, and they, were wrong.

Now, however, comes the fun part. Nearly a decade after following his guidance and passing reckless tax cuts that failed to produce, Republicans on the Hill get to scramble to tell us that Alan Greenspan has no idea what he’s talking about.

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Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.