Saturday, September 15, 2007

Greenspan Goes Public

The impact on the U.S. economy of Alan Greenspan, who was the Federal Reserve chairman for 18 years and the leading Republican economist for the past three decades, was best summed up by candidate Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) during his bid for the 2000 presidency.

When drilled by a reporter about what he would do if something happened to Greenspan, McCain responded, "Well, I'd put sunglasses on him and prop him up like that guy in Weekend at Bernies."

"Bernie" retired in 2006, however, leaving the economy and President Bush to go it alone. The party's over.

In Greenspan's new memoir, "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World," reviewed by Bob Woodward of the Washington Post, Greenspan praises president Bill Clinton's mind and tough anti-deficit policies, calling the president's 1993 economic plan "an act of political courage."

Not surprisingly for those of us aghast at the monstrous deficit accumulating under the current administration, The Decider doesn't get such rave reviews. Greenspan is frustrated that Bush didn't veto out-of-control spending by the Republican Congress who, Greenspan writes, "..swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither."

Greenspan strongly chastised both Dennis Hastert (R-IL) and Tom Delay (R-TX) because "House Speaker Hastert and House majority leader Tom Delay seemed readily inclined to loosen the federal purse strings any time it might help add a few more seats to the Republican majority."

Even his friend and former colleague in the Ford administration, VP Cheney, was criticized for coining the GOP mantra.... "Reagan proved deficits don't matter." Greenspan rails that "deficits must matter" because uncontrolled government spending and borrowing can produce high inflation "and economic devastation."

Greenspan writes, "The hard truth was that Reagan had borrowed from Clinton, and Clinton was having to pay it back." During Clinton's second term, Clinton proposed devoting extra money to "save Social Security first. I played no role in finding the answer, but I had to admire the one Clinton and his policymakers came up with."

But, all of Clinton's gains were squandered, Greenspan writes, as the large, anticipated federal budget surpluses "were gone six to nine months after George W. Bush took office."

And, Greenspan curtly notes, "I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."

Observing the ruins of our economy today, Greenspan writes with some bitterness that Washington is "harboring a dysfunctional government... Governance has become dangerously dysfunctional."

And, of course, that is the trouble with a "Bernie" as chairman of the Federal Reserve. He didn't speak up when it mattered, and instead allowed himself to be used as a prop on the White House's macabre economic stage.


elgringocolombiano said...

TH, did you here about Iowa/Tom Harkin excluding Kucinich from events there? I blogged about it, let me know your opinion.

Truth Hunter said...

elgringocolombiano, The Harkin Steak Fry is probably the BIG event in Iowa for Democrats during a campaign season, on par with the GOP Ames Straw Poll. Harkin usually invites only one person, maybe two.

This year, as I understand it, the invitees all have substantial campaign organizations in Iowa and actively campaign on a grass-roots basis.

Which, of course, is the whole point of a small state like Iowa being first-in-the-nation. Because of our small size, and the interest and active participation of so many of Iowa's citizens, it really is possible for voters to size up a candidate.

Kuchinch has elected not to go this route and make his presence felt in Iowa. His campaign "office" is an email address. Not even a telephone number.

So.... while I won't defend Iowa's first-in-the-nation status, I will defend the fact that only those actively campaigning in Iowa were invited to the fry.

Of course, Kuchinch is a vegan, and also was at the Small Town Coffee House in Kapaa, Hawaii on Sunday....

BTW, the "rules" for who was invited were worked out by the Iowa Democratic Party and the Iowa Federation of Labor according to Citizens for Harkin.

Hope this helps.