March 01, 2003

Greenspan's Congressional Credit Remains Very Good

John Berry writes that Alan Greenspan's credit remains at gold-standard levels in Congress: Greenspan Remains Popular in Congress: ederal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan may be taking sniping fire from anonymous White House officials unhappy that he questioned the immediate need for President Bush's latest tax-cut plan, but he's still a bipartisan favorite on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) interrupted a Senate Banking Committee hearing yesterday to criticize what he called "an ongoing orchestrated whisper campaign to discredit" Greenspan after his recent testimony.

A number of media reports since then have quoted unnamed White House sources as saying Greenspan, whose term as chairman will end in the middle of next year, might be dumped by Bush. A syndicated column by Robert Novak, for example, appeared Monday in the Washington Post with the headline "Goodbye, Greenspan?" and began, "It's difficult to exaggerate the irritation at the White House over Alan Greenspan's gratuitous shot at President Bush's tax cuts."

Schumer said threats to dump Greenspan violated the independence of the Fed, noting that Greenspan had supported the concept of a major tax cut that Bush proposed two years ago.

Sen. Wayne Allard (R-Colo.) said he thought administration officials "were pleased with the testimony." Allard said, " I don't understand all the furor." Another Republican, Sen. Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, said administration officials told him "they felt the chairman's comments have been very helpful in helping the country to understand" this year's budget issues.

Sen. Robert F. Bennett (R-Utah), added, to laughter, "I will stipulate that the Fed should be independent and Mr. Greenspan should be retained." When Committee Chairman Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) introduced Greenspan on the subject of the hearing, federal deposit insurance, he said: "You take as long as you want, Mr. Chairman. And I hope you're there [at the Fed] as long as you want to be."

Posted by DeLong at March 1, 2003 05:45 PM | TrackBack


Things like this make me proud that I was a Schumer intern during the summer 1999, the first summer of his term in office. . . .

Posted by: Bobby on March 1, 2003 06:12 PM

Things like this make me proud that I was a Schumer intern during the summer 1999, the first summer of his term in the Senate. . . .

Posted by: Bobby on March 1, 2003 06:13 PM

I am dead sure that Jim Bunning of Kentucky, who also sits on the Banking Committee, has wanted Greenspan out for a long time. I wonder if there's anyone else, and who nows what they say in private. By the way, does anyone know how Paul Volcker left? Did he do so voluntarily? How was Volcker's congressional support in appearance when he was replaced by Greenspan? I don't know

Posted by: Bobby on March 1, 2003 06:19 PM

Reassuring piece...but John Berry of the WashPost has in the past been a reliable source of Fed-originating leaks -- I think your broader analysis of frantic leaking by the various economic factions in the administration is germane here as well.

Posted by: P O'Neill on March 1, 2003 09:11 PM

Please. Please. Why not pay attention to substance? Alan Greenspan warned last week that Social Security is headed for serious trouble. Duh. Funny thing about the warning. Just 2 years ago, Mr. Greenspan was worried about the surplus that would gobble up Dallas unless taxes were cut to the order of the Administration. Greenspan has helped set us in a serious fiscal bind. I say snipe away from any angle. We are dealing with a fine central banker, but surely a central banker who can and should be criticized.

Mr. Greenspan in fact supported the Administration dividend tax cut plan in day 2 of Congressional testimony. Mr. Greenspan is a good Republican and I do not intend to forget that.

Defense of Mr. Greenspan is really not necessary.

Posted by: jd on March 2, 2003 08:25 AM


Whatever else it represents, the hubbub over Greenspan represents an opportunity for Democrats to distance themselves from Republicans on an "issue". If Republicans are unable to agree among themselves about Greenspan, Democrats can. Democrats are decisive. Democrats put the good of the economy ahead of politics. If any of this strikes you as an "insert your favorite party's name here" sort of thing, well, it is.

Posted by: K Harris on March 3, 2003 10:40 AM

K Harris -

Yes. I agree completely. Senate Democrats will be in a strong position to significantly influence economic policy if they are united.

Posted by: jd on March 3, 2003 12:15 PM
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