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Jan 25, 2001: The Maestro's dubious debt warning
Jan 25, 2001: The Maestro's dubious debt warning
Just days after President George W. Bush took office, Fed chief Alan Greenspan admonished budgeteers about the dangers of -- get this -- too little federal debt.

"At zero debt, the continuing unified budget surpluses currently projected imply a major accumulation of private assets by the federal government," Greenspan told the Senate Budget Committee.

As it turns out, the United States has been able to kick its nasty surplus habit, spilling at least $158 billion of red ink every year since Greenspan's testimony. Yet thanks to the financial sector debt crisis that precipitated bailouts such as TARP, the feds ended up accumulating huge amounts of private assets anyway. We've got 7.7 billion shares of Citigroup -- any takers?

NEXT: July 19, 2002: WorldCom's bankruptcy

Last updated December 16 2009: 10:24 AM ET
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