Advice Goddess Blog
« Previous | Home | Next »

How Greenspan Is My Valley?
Al bitchslaps the GOP. From

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan slams President Bush and today's Republicans, while calling Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton "the smartest presidents" he worked with, according to an advance copy of his upcoming book.

He further says the GOP deserved the stomping it took in November's congressional elections -- a ballot that saw both houses of Congress wrested from Republican control -- because the party "swapped principle for power."

His book, The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World, is scheduled for release Monday. CNN obtained a copy Saturday.

In the book, Greenspan wrote that Bush essentially left an unbridled GOP Congress to spend money however it saw fit, and by not vetoing a single bill in six years, the president deprived the nation of checks and balances.

"The Republicans in Congress lost their way," Greenspan wrote. "They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose."

Greenspan, an 81-year-old Republican who retired last year after five terms as Fed chairman, wrote that he made no secret of his view that Bush should reject some bills.

"It would send a message to Congress that it did not have carte blanche on spending," Greenspan recalls telling the administration. "But the answer I received from a senior White House official was that the president didn't want to challenge House Speaker Dennis Hastert. 'He thinks he can control him better by not antagonizing him,' the official said."

The White House, however, said that vetoes weren't necessary because Congress "worked with us."

"The Republican Congress stayed within the president's top-line numbers on non-national security appropriations bills. We had veto threats, which were used to good effect to keep spending within the president's numbers," said spokesman Tony Fratto.

Greenspan wrote in his book that the decision was costly.

"To my mind," he wrote, "Bush's collaborate-don't-confront approach was a major mistake -- it cost the nation a check-and-balance mechanism essential to fiscal discipline."

He further wrote that former Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill "found himself the odd man out; much to my disappointment, economic policymaking in the Bush administration remained firmly in the hands of the White House staff."

The most dangerous people are usually those who think they're experts, and can do anybody's job. There seem to be so many of that sort in power at the moment (not that I'm a great fan of the nimrod Dems).

P.S. Speaking of more recent Ayn Rand afficionados (Greenspan was one of her young circle of admirers), Kate Coe has it looking like Brangelina want to do the Hank Reardon/Dagny thing together in Atlas Shrugged.

In Amy trivia news, Ayn Rand was a huge influence, and, to my parents' consternation, I read everything she wrote -- including all her philosophy books -- and used to march around as a teenager proclaiming "The Virtue of Selfishness," blah blah blah.

I have a first edition of Atlas, given to me by an actor I used to work with in NYC, the guy who blew his brains out on an episode of CSI.

Posted by aalkon at September 17, 2007 9:09 AM


"Stomped?" "Wrested?" Somebody's either not cognizant of political trends or is just doing the hyperbole thing, because the GOP lost fewer seats than is usual for the party of any "lame duck", and Democrats still have some huge problem with doing their Constitutional duties.

The guy had an influential position at one of the least-understood institutions in the world and one of the most powerful. I'm not surprised at the irony here, that an expert not in power would profess to "do anybody (else)'s job".

Posted by: Radwaste at September 17, 2007 1:54 AM

Watching the Republicans become spending freaks was like watching a friend descend into drug junkie status.

Of course, Democrats are still the drug pushers on the corner, so no relief there.

Posted by: doombuggy at September 17, 2007 4:53 AM

Amy, I am very disappointed to see you use the moniker "Brangelina". And quite freaked out, too.

Posted by: Jamie at September 17, 2007 7:45 AM

The Howard Roark/Dominique thing? You mean where she whips him in the face at the quarry? It was pretty saucy but then I'm a high-to-late decadent romantic at heart, so.

Posted by: Paul Hrissikopoulos at September 17, 2007 7:45 AM

Jamie, I'm just impressed I got blog items up considering I'm on deadline and jetlagged.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 17, 2007 7:54 AM

P.S. What's the big deal about Brangelina? I don't normally use that, but they do seem to want to do the movie together, and they are a couple and rather a force together. Come on, I get enough humorlessness from people who complain about my column!

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 17, 2007 7:58 AM

When history looks back on the era of Greenspan, he will be recorded as the worst Federal Reserve Chairman ever. He was responsible for not one but two recessions. His obsession with limiting inflation, and his failure to recognize what everyone else seems to have intrinsically known -- that changing interest rates have a lagging effect -- caused the downturn in the wake of the dot com scam.

I'm pleasantly surprised that Bernanke has reacted as deftly as he has regarding interest rates. I had expected him to act as his mentor before him, and doom us to further (avoidable) economic malaise.

Greenspan lecturing Congress on economic and monetary policy smacks of chutzpah. No, I'm not defending Congress. They are a bunch of impudent drones with no concept of the negative impact of government overspending. They never got beyond the chapter where Keynes said that government spending could be used to jump-start an economic growth cycle. Even Keynes didn't think that government spending was always a good thing.

I will give Greenspan credit for noticing the complete lack of testicular fortitude in the White House. But then again, there were those of us who saw it coming in 2000.

Posted by: brian at September 17, 2007 8:29 AM

Roark was "The Fountainhead", Darney Tagart/John Galt were in "Altas Shrugged".

Posted by: Ruth at September 17, 2007 8:35 AM

Thanks -- I blame jetlag -- especially since I have four copies of the damn book. Corrected.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 17, 2007 9:10 AM

I'm just envious of your first edition.

Posted by: Ruth at September 17, 2007 11:51 AM

I'm always relieved when somebody envies me for my books.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at September 17, 2007 11:53 AM

WHY is anyone surprised about Republican spending? The only way Reagan got his 600-ship Navy was to fatten everybody else's hog, too. None of them in the last 75 years have lowered spending. The idea that Republicans are fiscally conservative is as big and stupid a myth as the idea that Democrat Congress people are largely poor. It's HOG WASH.

Posted by: Radwaste at September 17, 2007 3:02 PM

Greenspan sure is all over the news today for his remarks about the war as well as shocking predictions about the economy. It seems to me he is saying everything controversial that he can to get the PR. I wrote about the economic side of this today in my blog:

Posted by: Aaron at September 17, 2007 4:25 PM

> calling Richard Nixon and Bill Clinton "the smartest presidents"

He sets a high bar. Are we talking about the same Nixon who imposed price controls? If so, I'm either depressed that Greenspan thinks the rest were worse or elated that he's out of the fed.

Posted by: Shawn at September 18, 2007 2:36 PM

What we really need is a return to a precious metals backed monetary system with real private banking.

I'm not only tired of the taxes and overregulation that costs me money, I also resent the inflation for warfare/welfare state.

Go Ron Paul!

Posted by: sth_txs at September 20, 2007 3:09 PM

Leave a comment