Greenspan's Memoirs: Passing the Buck?

September 19, 2007 12:51 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The former federal reserve chairman’s account of his tenure excoriates the Bush Administration; critics and analysts greet its allegations with complacency or counteraccusation.

30-Second Summary

On September 17, with uncanny timing—the day before the Federal Reserve cut interest rates .5 percent in response to the mortgage crisis—Alan Greenspan’s memoir appeared in bookstores across the nation.

Greenspan served as chairman of the Fed from 1987 to 2006. During most of that period, the economy thrived. The United States experienced only 16 months of recession. Greenspan’s memoir, “The Age of Turbulence,” arrives at a point when that era of fiscal robustness may be coming to an end.

The media has focused on the book's highly critical account of President George W. Bush's economic record. Greenspan argues that the policies and political process instituted under President Bush helped bring about the economy’s current troubles.

According to CNN, Greenspan identifies two key problems in the present administration: the president neglected to exercise his veto to curb congressional spending; and the White House sidelined the treasury, taking sole command of the economy.

At The Wall Street Journal and The New York Sun, critics have responded by pointing to the former Fed chief’s cuts in interest rates between 2001 and 2004 as an important contributory factor in the current mortgage crisis.

Vice President Dick Cheney addressed his former colleague's complaints with an op-ed in the Journal defending President Bush’s tax cuts. Cheney argued, counter to Greenspan’s claims, that the cuts stimulated the economy after 9/11 and, as a result, tax revenue “is now above the 40-year historical average.”

Greenspan concludes his book with some stark forebodings: slower growth, rising inflation, and even social unrest prompted by economic inequality.

Headline Links: Policy v. Principle, and Greenspan's predictions

Reactions: Vice President Cheney and President Bush

President Bush and his tax cuts

Opinion: Economic analysis and book reviews

Greenspan's economics
The book reviews

Related Links: Fed cuts interest rates, Greenspan and Ayn Rand


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