Greenspan the Partisan Crank

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I have strong memories of Alan Greenspan’s bizarro justification in 2001 for insisting that we stop running federal budget surpluses. It was convoluted, it didn’t make sense, and it was pretty obvious partisan hackery. But I confess that either I’ve forgotten, or I never quite realized, just how eccentric it really was. “I’ve seen theories this convoluted and loopy before,” says Jon Chait, after reminding us of Greenspan’s concluding flourish, “But they’ve usually been scrawled in long-hand by random cranks who mail letters to magazines.” No kidding.

UPDATE: Just out curiosity, is there anyone around today who actually defends Greenspan’s position back then? Maybe Larry Kudlow or Donald Luskin? Anyone?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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