Sunday, November 14, 2010

Greenspan: High deficits could spark bond crisis


The United States must move to rein in its massive budget deficits or it faces the risk of a bond market crisis, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Sunday.

"We've got to resolve this issue before it gets forced upon us," Greenspan said of the ballooning U.S. debt levels.

He spoke as a panel, chaired by former White House chief of staff Erskine Bowles and former Senator Alan Simpson, is due to deliver a report on debt and deficits by December 1.

A draft report made public last week offered a series of politically tough tax and spending choices that would seek to reduce the debt by $4 trillion by 2020.

The suggestions received a lukewarm reception from some politicians and outright condemnation by others, including House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who pronounced the ideas "simply unacceptable."

Greenspan, who spoke on NBC's "Meet the Press," said he believed "something equivalent" to what Bowles and Simpson recommended would eventually be approved by Congress.

"The only question is, is it before or after a bond market crisis? Because there's no alternative," he said.