Saturday, March 05, 2005

The truth about Alan Greenspan

Over the past few days, a lot more Democrats have voiced their belief that Greenspan is a partisan conservative. They think that he has been more apt to make decisions based on fealty to the Republicans and not on the nonpartisan best interests of the country. In a lot of ways, that's totally true. He's been out there talking about the need to cut spending even though there is no way to cut enough discretionary spending to get rid of our annual deficits and and that recent economic history shows that slowly raising taxes on the more affluent and not the middle classes doesn't do significant harm to the economy. On the contrary, it's how we balanced the budget in the 90s, and as long as the middle and working classes have discretionary monies, they will spend them and keep us out of recession. That makes him a hack more willing to accept ideology over real world evidence. But I still think that Greenspan requires a secret decoder ring to understand. His public statements hae a tendency to favor the ruling party, but still leave options open for things like tax increases on the wealthy. Even the talk of a consumption tax to replace the income tax can have a double meaning. It puts the issue on the front page and gets people talking. It was brooched not that long ago by some Republicans, but didn't get the kin dof play that it really needs. This gets us talking and allows people to learn about how bad an idea it is to have regressive taxes. So, at the moment, I'm still willing to believe Alan Greenspan is sane and hasn't gone completely senile. He is the consumate beauracrat, and it would only make the kind of practical sense that he is known for to do what he can to keep the administration from getting rid of him the same way they canned his long-time friend Paul O'Neill. He's definitely a conservative, but he's not drinking the kool-aid.

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