Saturday, April 23, 2005

Roubini parses Greenspan remarks

Nouriel Roubini's latest post dissects Greenspan's statement to the Senate Budget Committee. On the renminbi, Greenspan notes the negative effects of the peg on China's economy - mentioning sterilization costs and resource allocation distortion - and predicts a revaluation "sooner rather than later." He also distances himself from testimony in 2001 which seemed to support the Bush tax cuts. He now says (as Paul O'Neil claimed in his book) the cuts should have had built-in triggers, limiting them if large deficits resulted.

Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes (D-Md.) said he believed it was "fair to consider how your message would be taken" and that lawmakers saw Greenspan's 2001 remarks as "providing a green light" for tax cuts, which were enacted without triggers.

"I plead guilty to that," Greenspan said. "If indeed that is the way it was interpreted, I missed it. In other words, I did not intend it that way."

..."The federal budget deficit is on an unsustainable path, in which large deficits result in rising interest rates and ever-growing interest payments that augment deficits in future years," Greenspan said in his prepared testimony yesterday.

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