Grilled Greenspan

On March 3, 2005, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid attacked Greenspan as one of the biggest political hacks we have here in Washington and criticized him for supporting Bush's 2001 tax cut plan. Greenspan has also received criticism from Democratic Congressman Barney Frank and others for his support of Bush's plan to phase out Social Security in favor of private accounts. Greenspan had said Bush's model has "the seeds of developing full funding by its very nature. As I've said before, I've always supported moves to full funding in the context of a private account."

2008 Noble Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, a frequent Greenspan critic, wrote in the New York Times that Greenspan was a three-card maestro with a lack of sincerity who, by repeatedly shilling for whatever the Bush administration wants, has betrayed the trust placed in the Fed chairman. Charges that Greenspan was veering beyond the Fed's purview of monetary policy into fiscal and political matters traditionally left to lawmakers became more prevalent, coming for example from sources such as Republican Senator Jim Bunning who voted against reconfirming him.

Then-Democratic House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi stated in 2005 there were serious questions about the Fed's independence as a result of Greenspan's public statements. But others like Republican Senator Mitch McConnell disagreed, stating that Greenspan has been an independent player at the Fed for a long time under both parties and made an enormous positive contribution. Furthermore, Greenspan had used his position as Fed Chairman to comment upon fiscal policy as early as 1993, when he supported President Clinton's deficit reduction plan, which included tax hikes and budget cuts.

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