“Hey, don’t look at me!”

April 7, 2010 at 11:25 pm | Posted in Economy, politics straight up, Reality Bites | Leave a comment
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'Don't put up any resistance! Just keep in step' Cartoon shows a small man, labeled "Congress," being hustled away from the Capitol by three hulking men in fedoras and black coats. All three men have President Richard Nixon's features and are labeled "Executive Privilege," "Impounding of Funds," and "Veto Power." After Nixon won re-election with a huge majority in 1972, he announced an ambitious domestic program that he called the "New American Revolution." Determined to destroy any opposition, he used all the weapons at his disposal to force Congress to accept his plans. This included the pocket veto of 11 bills after Congress adjourned in 1972 and the impoundment of funds for programs enacted by Congress. In addition, he extended the principle of executive privilege, refusing to allow members of his staff to testify before Congressional committees, most notably the Watergate Committee chaired by Senator Sam Ervin. Many people feared these actions were causing an erosion of Congress's powers and a consequent increase in the powers of the president. 1973 April 13. Edmund S. Valtman, cartoonist (Library of Congress)

So Alan Greenspan, Federal Reserve chair from 1987 to 2006, is blaming his failures on the US Congress. It’s interesting then to read this comment made by Peter Hartcher of the Sydney Morning Herald in a discussion on an Australian radio program on August 17, 2005:

“[Greenspan] was gearing up to do something about [the bubble]. He could see that it was way out of line, he could see that it was about to . .that it was carrying up the economy up to great heights, it was going to burst and the economy would be dashed to the ground, we’d be in recession, everyone would lose their money. He saw it unfolding exactly as it was going to, and we know that because we have the minutes of the Feds secret meetings, they published in full five years later. And he even went so far as to begin to warn about it, and you’ll remember he gave a famous speech where he said the markets were entering a period of ‘irrational exuberance’. But then something funny happened. After he gave that speech markets around the world took a tumble. But then Greenspan stopped on that agenda. He stopped warning about the bubble, he stopped shaping up to do something about it, and he switched and went over to the other side and became a cheerleader. Now, really the question you’re asking is why did he do that? What changed? And the short answer is, he played the politics, not the economics.”

Perhaps Mr. Greenspan would like to explain what happened five years ago that caused him to reverse his position on something he recognized as a serious threat to the economy. But I won’t be holding my breath waiting for an explanation, especially not an honest one.

It never ceases to amaze me how Republicans can go on and on about “personal responsibility” yet never seem to require it of themselves.

Thanks, Crooks & Liars.

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