National Review Accuses Greenspan of Luddism

Luddism is attributed to English workers in the early 1800’s who felt technological progress threatened their jobs. I seriously doubt that Alan Greenspan is a Luddite, but Thomas Nugent writes:

in the hearing last week one Democratic congressman went to great lengths to graphically depict employment growth during the Bush years. His aim seemed to be to get Greenspan to admit that, under this president, employment growth has been terrible. But when he asked Greenspan to confirm the data, we got a novel answer — one that underscores the irrational behavior of Democrats on this subject. Greenspan pointed out that the major cause for slow growth in employment is productivity growth. In other words, the unusual ability of U.S. businesses to produce more goods and services with less physical labor is the cause of slow employment growth, not one or more of President Bush’s policies…Simply, productivity allows for more output with fewer workers — lowering the need for more workers. So, are the Democrats telling us that, in their world, productivity growth will have to be undermined if we are to overcome a slowdown in employment growth?

I suspect Mr. Nugent failed to understand what Greenspan’s answer really meant as he launched into his own irrational and partisan tirade.