Magazine article Monthly Review

Calling Greenspan's Bluff

Magazine article Monthly Review

Calling Greenspan's Bluff

Article excerpt

Too often Alan Greenspan is regarded by members of both parties as some kind of all-knowing sage, when in fact he is an extreme right-wing economist whose views on the minimum wage, trade, taxes, and other issues are directly at odds with the needs of working and middle-class Americans.

I get sick and tired of hearing how well the economy is doing when so many are having a difficult time. It's time people start calling Greenspan's bluff, showing how our of touch he is with the working class of this country.

So I have made it my job, when he comes before Congress twice a year, to reveal how reactionary he is. On that day I was particularly outraged by a remark he had made earlier, when asked about the huge loss of manufacturing jobs. Greenspan said something about how it was debatable whether it was harmful to lose those jobs.

--Representative Bernard Sanders (Independent-Vermont)

The following is the transcript of Representative Sanders' question-and-answer period with Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan during the Financial Services hearing of July 15, 2003.

Sanders: Thank you, Madam Chair.

And, Mr. Greenspan, nice to see you again.

Mr. Greenspan, I have long been concerned that you are way out of touch with the needs of the middle class and working families of our country, that you see your major function in your position as the need to represent the wealthy and large corporations.

And I must tell you that your testimony today only confirms all of my suspicions, and I urge you--and I mean this seriously, because you're an honest person, I think you just don't know what's going on in the real world--and I would urge you come with me to Vermont, meet real people. The country club and the cocktail parties are not real America. The millionaires and billionaires are the exception to the rule.

You talk about an improving economy while we have lost 3 million private sector jobs in the last two years, long-term unemployment is more than tripled, unemployment is higher than it's been since 1994.

We have a $4 trillion national debt, 1.4 million Americans have lost their health insurance, millions of seniors can't afford prescription drugs, middle-class families can't send their kids to college because they don't have the money to do that, bankruptcy cases have increased by a record-breaking 23 percent, business investment is at its lowest level in more than 50 years, CEOs make more than 500 times of what their workers make, the middle class is shrinking, we have the greatest gap between the rich and the poor of any industrialized nation, and this is an economy that is improving.

I'd hate to see what would happen if our economy was sinking.

Now, today you may not have known this--I suspect that you don't--but you have insulted tens of millions of American workers. …

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