Alan Greenspan was smiling during his Q&A at the Council on Foreign Relations this morning, but his mood was definitely grim. Speaking to an audience of assorted muckety-mucks, including Steven Rattner, Peter Peterson, and host Mort Zuckerman, the former Federal Reserve chairman noted that the economy was foundering under “a heavy weight of uncertainty” that government stimulus has failed thus far to soothe, and advocated tax hikes as a means of “lifting this pall.” “I think that we have got a fiscal situation in which if we don’t curtail it quickly, we’re going to have very grave problems ahead,” he said. “I just can’t visualize how we’re going to get to next February with the budget we have. We have essentially put on the books a level of commitment which I don’t think we physically can bear.”
“That was scary as shit,” one guest was overheard saying, as the crowd filed solemnly to post-pessimism-porn breakfasts at the Regency. The good news is that Alan Greenspan is only right 70 percent of the time.