NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Alan Greenspan acknowledged Wednesday that mistakes were made during his long tenure as chairman of the Federal Reserve, but he argued that the low interest rate policy he championed at the central bank didn't inflate the housing bubble.
In testimony before the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Greenspan said the recent financial meltdown was possibly "the most severe in history." He admitted that regulators failed to grasp the severity of the crisis, but he maintained that his policies and predictions were correct most of the time.
"When you've been in government for 21 years, as I have been, the issue of retrospect and what you should have done is a really futile activity," Greenspan said. "I was right 70% of the time. But I was wrong 30% of the time, and there were an awful lot of mistakes in 21 years," he added.
Washington (CNN) - The slow but steady U.S. economic recovery appears set to continue, with underlying indicators signaling a growing strength, some of the nation's senior economists said Sunday.
"The trend has turned," said Lawrence Summers, director of the White House National Economic Council, on CNN's "State of the Union" program. "But to get back to the surface, we've got a long way to go."
Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told ABC's "This Week" that the recovery so far has led to conditions for compounding growth. In particular, Greenspan cited an increasing demand for inventory that spurs production as a signal of a possible significant build-up in growth.
"I suspect it's month by month," Greenspan said of continued economic growth, adding that "a statistical aberration is possible."
He said he doubted another drop in growth to create what economists call "double-dip recession" after the downturn of 2008-2009, saying the odds were "very much against that now."
On NBC's "Meet the Press," the chair of Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, Cristina Romer, said the recovery would have to be systemic rather than consumer-driven because, in the wake of the recession, "we're not going to be see people maxing out their credit cards again."
Romer predicted economic growth for the year of 3 percent, which she said would be enough to keep creating jobs but not enough to significantly reduce the unemployment rate.
All three spoke two days after the government announced 162,000 news jobs created in March but the unemployment rate remaining at 9.7 percent.
Fortune Magazine -– When the Senate grudgingly reconfirmed Ben Bernanke as Fed chairman two days before his term expired, he was only a stand-in for the man 30 senators were really mad at.
"I knew that he would continue the legacy of Alan Greenspan, and I was right," said an angry Jim Bunning, a conservative Republican from Kentucky who voted no. Fumed Bernie Sanders of Vermont, the Senate's only (admitted) socialist: "He said it publicly - I want to follow in the footsteps of Alan Greenspan. Alan Greenspan's philosophy is a disaster." Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) said Bernanke "helped set the fire that destroyed our economy." Only helped, that is - and we all know whom he helped.
Washington (CNN) - Cutting the U.S. deficit will require addressing the rising costs of entitlement programs such as Social Security, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Sunday.
Appearing on the NBC program "Meet the Press," Greenspan said the United States "can't erase deficits by tax increases alone."
"We have to recognize the fact that one of the things we have to do, as tough as its going to be, is that benefits are going to have to be pared in conjunction with tax increases," Greenspan said.
Asked about the recession, Greenspan declared it ended.
Washington (CNN) - Unemployment will go down in the coming year, but that doesn't mean U.S. economic woes are over, leading economic figures said Sunday.
Appearing on the NBC program "Meet the Press," former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan and Christina Romer, chairman of the White House Council on Economic Advisers, both made qualified predictions for economic growth and decreasing unemployment.
"I feel (it's) very likely it will be coming down," Romer said of the unemployment rate, but warned some "bumps" are likely in the coming year.
Greenspan noted upcoming boosts to employment, such as more than 700,000 people working in 2010 to conduct the federal census.
Unemployment "is going to be lower," Greenspan said, mostly due to people returning to the labor force.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. economy will grow more than expected in the third quarter, but unemployment also will continue to increase and "penetrate" the 10 percent barrier, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said Sunday.
Greenspan told the ABC program "This Week" that he expected 3 percent growth in the third quarter, up from the 2.5 percent he previously predicted. However, he said a "pretty awful" September employment report released Friday showed the jobless rate continued to climb.
A slowing or halt in job losses is different than reversing the rise in unemployment, Greenspan noted, adding that the nation's unemployment rate - currently 9.8 percent - is "going to penetrate the 10 percent barrier before heading down."
NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan told a House committee Thursday that the nation will emerge from the current credit crisis with a "far sounder financial system."
"We are in the midst of a once-in-a century credit tsunami," Greenspan told the House Oversight and Reform Committee in prepared testimony.
Greenspan said that whatever regulatory changes are made to respond to the crisis, "they will pale in comparison to the change already evident in today's markets."