Well it looks like the one thing you can count on from Alan
Greenspan is to be consistent, consistently partisan that is. Whenever
a Democrat is in the White House deficits matter
and when a Republican is in office
they don't. Now that a Democratic is back in office, Greenspan is
concerned about the deficit if the health care bill wasn't scored
properly by the CBO.
TAPPER: The president signed massive health care reform
legislation into law a few weeks ago. You have expressed concern about
the legislation, as it was making its way through the process, about
whether or not it did enough to contain costs. What did you think about
the final legislation? Does it contain costs enough?
GREENSPAN: Well, the CBO, incidentally, Congressional Budget Office,
which is really a first-rate operation, says that it does. The problem
is not their estimates, but the range of potential error in those
And when you're dealing with an economy in which debt is becoming --
federal debt is becoming ever increasingly a problem, it strikes me
that when you're dealing with public policy and you're in a position
where you have to ask yourself, "What happens if we are wrong?"
In other words, in the case now, where our buffer between our
capacity to borrow and our actual debt is narrowing, for the first
time, I think, in the American history, there's a question, supposing
we are wrong on the cost estimates, and, indeed, they are actually much
higher than the best estimates can generate, the consequences are very
severe, whereas if they are too high, it's very easy to adjust.
So I think it's -- it's -- there's an issue over and above the
question of what's the best cost estimate. There's a policy strategy
here which I think requires us to lean in an ever more conservative
area with respect to judging...
TAPPER: So it might have been too rosy, the projections, you're saying?
GREENSPAN: Possibly. I don't know that. But I do know that the probability that it might be is much higher than we would like.