Saturday, September 15, 2007

Greenspan Criticizes Bush, Praises Bill Clinton

Stating the obvious, but it's nice to hear a lifelong Republican with Greenspan's reputation say it:
Alan Greenspan, who served as Federal Reserve chairman for 18 years and was the leading Republican economist for the past three decades, levels unusually harsh criticism at President Bush and the Republican Party in his new book, arguing that Bush abandoned the central conservative principle of fiscal restraint.

While condemning Democrats, too, for rampant federal spending, he offers Bill Clinton an exemption. The former president emerges as the political hero of "The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World," Greenspan's 531-page memoir, which is being published Monday.

Greenspan, who had an eight-year alliance with Clinton and Democratic Treasury secretaries in the 1990s, praises Clinton's mind and his tough anti-deficit policies, calling the former president's 1993 economic plan "an act of political courage."

But he expresses deep disappointment with Bush. "My biggest frustration remained the president's unwillingness to wield his veto against out-of-control spending," Greenspan writes. "Not exercising the veto power became a hallmark of the Bush presidency. . . . To my mind, Bush's collaborate-don't-confront approach was a major mistake."

Greenspan accuses the Republicans who presided over the party's majority in the House until last year of being too eager to tolerate excessive federal spending in exchange for political opportunity. The Republicans, he says, deserved to lose control of the Senate and House in last year's elections. "The Republicans in Congress lost their way," Greenspan writes. "They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither."


Read the rest.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Greenspan isn't a Republican. Insofar as he has a political philosophy it's Objectivism (he even attended Ayn Rand's funeral), which as I understand it doesn't easily map onto the two party system. In any case, he's clearly criticising Bush for being less conservative than Clinton, and given that you're supporting a candidate who's less conservative than either, do you really want to associate yourself with Greenspan's attack on Bush?...

Random

PS "Sie k├Ânnen HTML-Tags verwenden, z. B. < b >, < i >, < a >" - for some reason I don't understand, Blogger is inviting comments in German today!

Jewish Atheist said...

Greenspan isn't a Republican.

That's quite a claim. Every source I've ever seen has him as a Republican who calls himself a "lifelong Republican libertarian."

In any case, he's clearly criticising Bush for being less conservative than Clinton, and given that you're supporting a candidate who's less conservative than either

It appears he's criticizing Bush for being less fiscally responsible than Clinton. I see no reason to believe that Obama or Hillary would be less fiscally responsible than any of the major Republican candidates.

Anonymous said...

"That's quite a claim. Every source I've ever seen has him as a Republican who calls himself a "lifelong Republican libertarian.""

I'm happy to stand corrected, however I've never seen it claimed he's a member of the GOP or other form of activist. This BTW is what wikipedia says about his political views -

"Greenspan was initially a Keynesian and logical positivist, but was converted to Objectivism by Rand. During the 1950s and '60s Greenspan was a proponent of her philosophy, writing articles for Objectivist newsletters and contributed several essays for Rand's 1966 book Capitalism: the Unknown Ideal including an essay supporting the gold standard.[10] During the 1950s, Greenspan was one of the members of Ayn Rand's inner circle, the Ayn Rand Collective, who read Atlas Shrugged while it was being written. Although Greenspan continues to advocate laissez-faire capitalism,[11] some Objectivists find his support for a gold standard somewhat of an irony given the Federal Reserve's role in America's fiat money system and endogenous inflation. He has come under criticism by Harry Binswanger,[12] who believes that working for the Federal Reserve is an abandonment of Objectivist and free market principles.

When Greenspan was sworn in as chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers in 1974, Ayn Rand attended the ceremony. Greenspan attended Rand's funeral in 1982."

Speaking personally, I suspect the "lifelong Republican libertarian" comment has as much to do with (a) saving him from having to explain what Objectivism is to people who have never heard of it; and (b) he currently has a book to sell and for those people who have heard of it Objectivism sounds, well, nuts.

"It appears he's criticizing Bush for being less fiscally responsible than Clinton."

Yes, but given that he describes fiscal responsibility as a "central conservative principle" I'm not sure I understand the difference here.

"I see no reason to believe that Obama or Hillary would be less fiscally responsible than any of the major Republican candidates."

Sadly, probably true. The republicans don't seem to have many fiscal conservatives around these days.

Jewish Atheist said...

I'm happy to stand corrected, however I've never seen it claimed he's a member of the GOP or other form of activist.

I don't know. The man calls himself a lifelong Republican -- I'm going to take his word for it.

Yes, but given that he describes fiscal responsibility as a "central conservative principle" I'm not sure I understand the difference here.

What, and liberals are for fiscal irresponsibility? :-) Fiscal responsibility should be a given for either party. There's a difference between, e.g., supporting universal health care and being fiscally irresponsible. The former is something upon which reasonable people can disagree. The latter is something we all agree is bad. For a long time Republicans have managed to rhetorically equate the two, but after the last two presidents, I'm hoping the voters will be able to separate them.

Ezzie said...

...but it still comes back to Greenspan being otherwise pro- Bush's policies (which he has discussed in the past) and being disappointed that he didn't use his veto (which people like myself have long said has been Bush's biggest flaw). Conservatives don't knock Clinton's economic plans; we just don't buy that he had anything to do with the bubble, nor that the subsequent burst was Bush's fault.

Whatever way you want to slice it, Greenspan believes in conservative economic philosophy, as do most economists. That he criticized Bush for not controlling spending is nothing different than any other conservatives have been doing for 6 years now.