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Greenspan: Bush an unprincipled spendthrift
Posted by: McQ on Saturday, September 15, 2007

Alan Greenspan was none too impressed with President Bush's fiscal policy, or perhaps lack of one is a better description:
Mr. Bush, he writes, was never willing to contain spending or veto bills that drove the country into deeper and deeper deficits, as Congress abandoned rules that required that the cost of tax cuts be offset by savings elsewhere. “The Republicans in Congress lost their way,” writes Mr. Greenspan, a self-described “libertarian Republican.”

They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither. They deserved to lose” in the 2006 election, when they lost control of the House and Senate.
Indeed they did, and not because of Iraq.

His favorite Prez? Oh, man (I would caveat this by saying "favorite according to the NY Times" since I haven't read the book yet, nor, apparently, has anyone else since it won't be released until Monday):
Of the presidents he worked with, Mr. Greenspan reserves his highest praise for Bill Clinton, whom he described in his book as a sponge for economic data who maintained “a consistent, disciplined focus on long-term economic growth.”
As for Bush:
By contrast, Mr. Greenspan paints a picture of Mr. Bush as a man driven more by ideology and the desire to fulfill campaign promises made in 2000, incurious about the effects of his economic policy, and an administration incapable of executing policy.
Huh ... a politician who wants to fulfill campaign promises. Unheard of. Of course even if rare, look what they can bring in terms of economic impact whether through ineptness or being incurious about their effect.

Here's an interesting excerpt from the Times article:
Mr. Greenspan described his own emotional journey in dealing with Mr. Bush, from an initial elation about the return of his old friends from the Ford White House — including Mr. Cheney and Donald H. Rumsfeld, secretary of defense — to astonishment and then disappointment at how much they had changed.

“I indulged in a bit of fantasy, envisioning this as the government that might have existed had Gerald Ford garnered the extra 1 percent of the vote he’d needed to edge past Jimmy Carter,” Mr. Greenspan writes in his memoir. “I thought we had a golden opportunity to advance the ideals of effective, fiscally conservative government and free markets.”
Of course not a chance of that with Uncle Jimmy in the White House. But he apparently thought highly of the Ford administration as well and expected great things from the returning alumni.
Instead, Mr. Greenspan continued, “I was soon to see my old friends veer off in unexpected directions.” He expected Mr. Bush to veto spending bills, he writes, but was told that the president believed he could control J. Dennis Hastert of Illinois, the Republican speaker of the House, better by signing them.

“My friend,” he writes of Mr. O’Neill, “soon found himself to be the odd man out; much to my disappointment, economic policymaking in the Bush administration remained firmly in the hands of the White House staff.”
Good grief ... Bush thought he could better control Hastert by signing spending bills? That worked out well, didn't it?

Anyway, interesting article and most likely a very interesting book. If anyone has one they want to send me, I'll be glad to send you my address.

Just kidding.
 
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I’m going to get a couple of copies and will be happy to send you one.
 
Written By: Daniel Hall
URL: http://www.qando.net/
Bush an unprincipled spendthrift
Gee, I’ve been reading that refrain here for a few years.

Maybe you all should write a book and send it to Greensoan to see what he thinks
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
I’ve been saying it for years; Bush is not a conservative. No more was his father. Both of them are at best centrists. And of course, by definition, that means they spend money. What, after all, did anyone figure "compassion" was going to be paid for, with?

That point aside, from what I’ve seen of the book... and admittedly that’s not much, the entire issue surrounding the Islamo fascist problem, and the necessary response to it, seems to have given Greenspan the slip.

And... isn’t it interesting, the number of leftists right now, who a few years ago were saying that the man needed to be replaced, being too right wing, are now singing his praises?
 
Written By: Bithead
URL: http://bitsblog.florack.us
Alan Greenspan. Yet another Enemy Collaborator. Carry on, Bush-bots.
 
Written By: David Shaughnessy
URL: http://dsthinkingloud.blogspot.com/
Greenspan also subscribes to the theory that the Iraq war war really about securing Iraq’s oil reserves.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://www.warning1938alert.ytmnd.com
Of course oil was a fundamental reason for the Iraq war. Anyone denying that is incredibly naive — if you have an inkling of how things work inside Washington, and the nature of the internal national security debate, you’ll know the importance of oil. Note I’m not saying that it is bad to have oil as a fundamental issue — our economy rests on it. To be sure, other factors were involved, but to deny that fundamental importance of oil would simply betray a naivete about US policy in the region. Remember the Carter doctrine?
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
If Iraq didn’t have any oil, Saddam Hussein couldn’t have built up his army the way he did. The Iran/Iraq war without oil would have been like Ethiopia/Eritrea, i.e. a war no one cared about.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
And, in any event, we wouldn’t care. Look, the people in Washington are playing a high stakes game. They know the supply of oil is not unlimited, they know that we need time to make a transition, and they know that global competition could limit our supplies and dramatically incnrease our price. Terrorism and the like were not the main causes Iraq was in their sights before 9-11.

In fact, the roots of this crisis go back to 1979 and the Iranian revolution. It was becoming abundantly clear that domestic politics in the Mideast were moving towards a crisis like Iran had; anger over authoritarian regimes combined with intense corruption made political stability unlikely to last. Meanwhile, the main alternative was Islamic fundamentalism (which, despite claims of some that this is a civilizational issue, was extremely minor before the late sixties, and only marginal until the eighties — it arose out of political causes, not something inherent to the religion or culture). That was threatening; creating a democratic alternative and showing we’d have the force to make it happen was seen as not only being altruistic (we’re helping their people) but effective at preventing Mideast collapse from threatening oil markets. An added benefit would be that we’d be higher up the feeding chart than China and emerging markets.

That sounds very seductive, doesn’t it? It was very seductive. It still seduces many. Unfortunately, reality has a way of bringing down even the most seductive theories.
 
Written By: Scott Erb
URL: http://faculty.umf.maine.edu/~erb/blog.htm
Boris Erb writes:
Of course oil was a fundamental reason for the Iraq war. Anyone denying that is incredibly naive — if you have an inkling of how things work inside Washington, and the nature of the internal national security debate, you’ll know the importance of oil. Note I’m not saying that it is bad to have oil as a fundamental issue — our economy rests on it. To be sure, other factors were involved, but to deny that fundamental importance of oil would simply betray a naivete about US policy in the region. Remember the Carter doctrine?
So, Boris, was oil the fundamental reason for UN Security Council resolution 1441? How about 687, the principal underlying resolution of 1441?

If oil was the fundamental reason for the Iraq war, then there was a much simpler solution for everyone involved. Leave the Hussein regime alone and let him sell oil until the world was drowing in it.

The only role that oil played in the Iraq war, and it was a significant one, was that it provided Hussein with the wealth to engage in internal and external revanchism. As a cornered rat and a frustrated leader of the Pan-Arab world (in his mind) he had the resources to exact revenge wherever he he saw a need for it.

You say you "teach this stuff," Boris? It doesn’t sound like you even trouble yourself with thinking about it.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Greenspan also subscribes to the theory that the Iraq war war really about securing Iraq’s oil reserves.
Lets suppose that theory is actually true (or at least that oil was one importaant reason among many for the purposes of this discussion)

So what?

That really doesn’t bother me too much.

Securing vital resources of supply or gaining critical strategic positions are classic, well-known reasons for going to war, and to me are much more acceptable
(pragmatic) than going to war over a religious clash or because of ethnic disputes or because the Kaiser insulted the Queen.

Talk about pie in the sky ideals about alternative fuels etc, the fact is that as a nation, we need oil. The sausage is tasty but nobody wants to see it made.
Alan Greenspan. Yet another Enemy Collaborator. Carry on, Bush-bots.


Um....maybe you should try reading next time, I didn’t see anyone saying anything disparaging about Greenspan. What the hell is wrong with you?
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
If oil was the fundamental reason for the Iraq war, then there was a much simpler solution for everyone involved. Leave the Hussein regime alone and let him sell oil until the world was drowing in it.
I’m sure glad you don’t teach this stuff.

The concern, had we left Iraq alone back in 1991, was that prices would go up and supplies would be reduced.
The relationship between Iraq and the United States remained unhindered until the day Iraq invaded Kuwait. On October 2, 1989, President George H.W. Bush signed secret National Security Directive 26, which begins, “Access to Persian Gulf oil and the security of key friendly states in the area are vital to U.S. national security.”[16]

With respect to Iraq, the directive stated, "Normal relations between the United States and Iraq would serve our longer term interests and promote stability in both the Persian Gulf and the Middle East."

It has been noted that after Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, the United States had both direct and indirect reasons for a cooling of relations between the United States and Iraq. For example, the direct interest that the Western powers had in oil supplies from the Middle East meant that it would be undesirable for Iraq to dominate a large proportion of these supplies. Indirectly, in terms of the geopolitics, it was further undesirable that there should be an Iraqi hegemony in the Persian Gulf.[17]
The only role that oil played in the Iraq war, and it was a significant one, was that it provided Hussein with the wealth to engage in internal and external revanchism.
This comment is wrong on every level.

First being that the idea that the ONLY role oil played was an internal Iraqi concern, the US clearly and explicitly stated that oil was the primary reason for our concern. We knew Hussein was committing massive human rights violations, but no action was taken because the oil relationship was good.

I love the use of the word "revanchism", but in context of the word, I’m not sure how a country can have both internal and external revanchism. Vengeance for lost borders and the desire and acts to reclaim them are how I understand the word, which clearly, the invasion of Kuwait could be described by this term.

Read your comment juxtaposed with the Presidential Directive as the time of the Gulf War.
The only role that oil played in the Iraq war, and it was a significant one, was that it provided Hussein with the wealth to engage in internal and external revanchism.
“Access to Persian Gulf oil and the security of key friendly states in the area are vital to U.S. national security.”[16]
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Hmmm...Greenspan looking for a job with Hillary’s administration?
 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://
I’m reminded of Dick Morris’ remarks that Bubba "...could spend hours talking about income redistribution". That’s an odd take on "a sponge for economic data who maintained "a consistent, disciplined focus on long-term economic growth."" Some very odd "principles", too.

Same goes with "midnight basketball" and a slew of other programs, mostly which grew during the 90’s "Peace Dividend" and the dot.com run up which petered out on his watch.

 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://
The idiot Sarcastic writes:
The concern, had we left Iraq alone back in 1991, was that prices would go up and supplies would be reduced.
Iraq had just invaded and taken control of the oil fields in another country in 1991.

In 2002 Iraqi oil had been embargoed and then semi-embargoed with Oil for Food since the first war. Leaving him alone to produce however much oil he wanted at that point didn’t have anything to do with him controlling Kuwaiti oil as part of his plan to make Iraq the Arab superpower.

Then another s**t for brains comment from Sarcastic:
First being that the idea that the ONLY role oil played was an internal Iraqi concern, the US clearly and explicitly stated that oil was the primary reason for our concern. We knew Hussein was committing massive human rights violations, but no action was taken because the oil relationship was good.
Are you professionally stupid or something? Yes, in 1991, after having invaded Kuwait, Hussein was a threat to the Persian Gulf oil supply, ipso facto. Eleven years later he posed an entirely different threat, which was the cornered rat former want to be king of the Arab world revanchist threat. The flow of his oil, Iraqi oil, was restricted by the sanctions placed on him for invading another country.

If that war had been about oil all we would have had to do was remove all the sanctions. Hussein desperately wanted to be rid of the sanctions, but believed that the West and the Americans would eventually cave and he would be back in business as usual. He was already cheating to make sure his personal fortune grew to stupendous proportions. The worry was not about his oil, but about what that oil could buy him vis a vis his ambitions and his penchant for international violence.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
This is the most brilliant economist in the world?. He didn’t realize raising the interest rate, 17 times, MONTH AFTER MONTH, was going to raise havoc with the subprime market; and consequently with the greater economy.
 
Written By: narciso
URL: http://
Given that Greenspan’s job is to prevent consumer price deflation, that’s just an unfortunate side effect. He probably realized it; but decided that they made their own mistake taking such a risk.
 
Written By: James O
URL: http://
"I indulged in a bit of fantasy, envisioning this as the government that might have existed had Gerald Ford garnered the extra 1 percent of the vote he’d needed to edge past Jimmy Carter," Mr. Greenspan writes in his memoir.

Ah yes, the Ford administration, the height of economic acumen...WIN
 
Written By: frossca
URL: http://
"Ah yes, the Ford administration, the height of economic acumen...WIN"

Yeah..they though 6% inflation was outrageous until Jimmy Peanut came to town.
 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://
Yeah..they though 6% inflation was outrageous until Jimmy Peanut came to town.
And Jimmy did whip inflation, but unfortunately for his re-election aspirations, he could not pull off the NOW part.

Carter appointed Paul Volcker, the Fed Chairman who burned out the recession (stagnant economy + inflation at that time) by raising interest rates.

The boom that Reagan enjoyed was largely due to these monetary policies, and to Reagan’s credit, he allowed Volcker to continue his policies.

Cap
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
If that war had been about oil all we would have had to do was remove all the sanctions.
Russia and China would have been happy to remove the sanctions, they would have gone from silent partners to the having the major oil contracts in a country with no production limits and 25% of the world’s oil supply under it’s sands.

Greenspan clarifies his statement on the Iraq war and oil..
The Washington Post focused on the charge in Greenspan’s book that "the Iraq war is largely about oil."

The fiscal guru backed off that assertion by suggesting that while securing global oil supplies "was not the administration’s motive," it should have been.

He said than when he made the argument that ousting Saddam Hussein was "essential" because of the threat he posed to U.S. oil interests in the region, White House officials told him "Well, unfortunately, we can’t talk about oil."
So the White House says that as justification for the war, they can’t talk about oil.

Does that mean that oil, and what was going to happen to those contracts in the future were not discussed internally? Of course not, it just wasn’t used as a selling point for the war.

It is every bit as obvious that the current Iraq war is as much about oil as the previous Iraq war. The only difference that since Iraq had taken no overt action to disrupt or annex oil supplies, the US could not use oil as a justification.

But just as China and Russia would have been happy to deal with Hussein, as the US had with the same vicious Husseing a decade earlier, US interests would have been shut out.

It doesn’t take rocket scientist to understand what Greenspan is saying, only someone clinging to the long debunked idea that the Bush Administration is honest and forthright could misunderstand this...
"I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil."
Not about what Hussein could do with money from Iraq’s oil, but the fact that he could disrupt the market (Greenspan’s concern) or that with sanctions lifted, Russia and China would gain advantage in a huge potential market that the US was shut out of.
Wolfowitz: ?Iraq War Was About Oil?
By George Wright
The Guardian

Wednesday 04 June 2003

Oil was the main reason for military action against Iraq, a leading White House hawk has claimed, confirming the worst fears of those opposed to the US-led war.

The US deputy defence secretary, Paul Wolfowitz - who has already undermined Tony Blair’s position over weapons of mass destruction (WMD) by describing them as a "bureaucratic" excuse for war - has now gone further by claiming the real motive was that Iraq is "swimming" in oil.

The latest comments were made by Mr Wolfowitz in an address to delegates at an Asian security summit in Singapore at the weekend, and reported today by German newspapers Der Tagesspiegel and Die Welt.

Asked why a nuclear power such as North Korea was being treated differently from Iraq, where hardly any weapons of mass destruction had been found, the deputy defence minister said: "Let’s look at it simply. The most important difference between North Korea and Iraq is that economically, we just had no choice in Iraq. The country swims on a sea of oil."
So you say...
The worry was not about his oil, but about what that oil could buy him vis a vis his ambitions and his penchant for international violence.
Revanche and penchant... are you French, or Dr. Evil?

No, the worry was about Iraq’s oil and the rest of the oil in the region.

Perhaps you are familiar with PNAC, which was made up of a good number of individuals who became the Bush Administration, including Cheney, Rumsfeld, Perle, Wolfowitz, Abrams, Libby, Bolton, Feith, Wurmser, and others, anc clearly identified oil as the reason we needed to depose Hussein.

In the PNAC letter to Clinton in 1998...
Such uncertainty will, by itself, have a seriously destabilizing effect on the entire Middle East. It hardly needs to be added that if Saddam does acquire the capability to deliver weapons of mass destruction, as he is almost certain to do if we continue along the present course, the safety of American troops in the region, of our friends and allies like Israel and the moderate Arab states, and a significant portion of the world’s supply of oil will all be put at hazard. As you have rightly declared, Mr. President, the security of the world in the first part of the 21st century will be determined largely by how we handle this threat.
Wurmer states...
"Iraq’s strategic importance to the US derives from a source beyond the pernicious, extortionist character of Saddam’s regime. Iraq occupies some of the most strategically blessed and resource-laden territory of the middle east. ... Iraq also has large, proven oil reserves, water, ..." [Note that lack of water is a long-standing Israeli problem.]
So the people who wanted to invade Iraq BEFORE September 11, 2001, and counted oil as a significant reason to do, all of sudden wanted to invade AFTER September, and rarely mentioned oil.

And you bought this hook, line, and sinker, something I’d think you would have to be
professionally stupid or something
to believe.

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Of the presidents he worked with, Mr. Greenspan reserves his highest praise for Bill Clinton, whom he described in his book as a sponge for economic data who maintained "a consistent, disciplined focus on long-term economic growth."
Clinton is "a sponge" ? More like "s*ck up".

Greenspan obviously responses well to pandering.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Clinton is "a sponge" ? More like "s*ck up".
There a lot of criticisms that can be made about Clinton, but few question his intellect and ability to absorb and understand complex information.

Some folks just can’t stand anything uncritical being said about Clinton, and that’s kind of sad.
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://

 
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