Greenspan takes center stage in 'Age of Turbulence'

He also frets about probably his biggest concern: the retirement of the baby boomers and the impending fiscal problems caused by the draws on Social Security and Medicare. He considers it an urgent problem that needs to be addressed soon.

Criticism for President Bush

It is regarding fiscal issues that Greenspan comes out swinging.

The former Fed chairman sharply criticizes President Bush for not vetoing bloated spending bills and for continuing to focus on issues such as adding prescription drug benefits to Medicare even though the budget surplus of just a few years ago had disappeared and deficits were mounting. "In the revised world of growing deficits, the goals were no longer entirely appropriate," Greenspan says. "He continued to pursue his presidential campaign promises nonetheless."

Greenspan, a libertarian Republican, as he calls himself, was also disappointed that his former colleagues from the Ford administration who were working for Bush, including Vice President Cheney, didn't show greater fiscal discipline.

"People's ideas — and sometimes their ideals — change over the years," Greenspan writes. "I was a different person than I had been when first exposed to the glitter of the White House a quarter of a century before. So were my old friends: not in personality or character, but in opinions about how the world works and, therefore, what is important."

The Bush administration has often attributed the deficits to the impact of the 2001 recession, Sept. 11, the war on terror and corporate scandals. "We are not going to apologize for spending that was required for national security and fighting the war on terror," White House spokesman Tony Fratto says. "We respect the work that Chairman Greenspan did," he says. "We always respect his opinion. We share his views on limiting fiscal deficits."

Greenspan also doesn't spare Republicans in Congress, who he says were "feeding at the trough," passing expensive pet projects for their home districts. For this, he says, they "deserved to lose" control of Congress to the Democrats in 2006. "The Republicans in Congress lost their way," he says. "They swapped principle for power. They ended up with neither."

Once the media blitz from the book is over, Greenspan says, he doesn't have plans to take a vacation or any kind of break. Instead, he says he has too much work to do, putting together computer programs to run econometric analysis.

But he does plan to avoid the spotlight that the introvert in him so eagerly avoids, he says. "I hope to go back and hide for a little while," he says.

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