Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said the country can’t afford $3.3 trillion of tax cuts proposed by Republican presidential nominee John McCain without corresponding spending reductions.
Greenspan, a lifelong Republican and longtime friend of McCain, said today on Bloomberg Television’s “Political Capital With Al Hunt” that “I’m not in favor of financing tax cuts with borrowed money.”
McCain has said he would balance the cost of most of his tax cuts with budget reductions, while providing few details beyond eliminating earmarks and other pork-barrel spending, which have totaled about $171 billion since 2001. Democratic nominee Barack Obama is proposing fewer tax cuts and more ambitious spending programs.
Greenspan said he has “mixed feelings” about a second government economic-stimulus bill after the U.S. provided a $168 billion package in February. While such an action may increase the budget deficit at a time when spending on retirees’ medical benefits is about to cause “big” financial problems, it may also boost economic growth, he said.
Greenspan has said there’s at least a 50 percent chance the U.S. economy will slide into a recession.
“There is no infinite piggy bank here,” Greenspan said today. It’s “far more important” to use federal resources, if necessary, to shore up the financial system and end the credit crisis, as Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson did in taking over mortgage-finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, averting a possible run on the system, Greenspan said.