January 4, 2000


11:40 A.M. EST

                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release                        January 4, 2000

                         REMARKS OF THE PRESIDENT
                            AND ALAN GREENSPAN

                                     The Oval Office

11:40 A.M. EST

          THE PRESIDENT:  You're supposed to stand over here today.  This
is the only time I'm interfering with the independence of the Fed.
(Laughter.)  You have to come over here.

          Good morning.  Ladies and gentlemen, the United States is
enjoying an extraordinary amount of economic success, for which we are all
grateful.  It seems clear that it is the result of a convergence of a
number of forces:  a great entrepreneurial spirit; stunning technological
innovations; well-managed businesses; hardworking and productive men and
women in our work force; expanding markets for our goods and services; a
complete commitment to fiscal discipline; and of course, a Federal Reserve
that has made independent, professional, and provably wise judgments about
our monetary policy.

          Since I took office seven years ago, one of the hallmarks of our
economic strategy has been a respect for the independence and the integrity
of the Federal Reserve.  I have always believed the best way for the
Executive Branch to work with the Fed is to let the Chairman and the
members do their jobs independently, while we do our job -- to promote
fiscal discipline, to open markets, to invest in people and technologies.

          That has given us strong economic growth with low inflation and
low unemployment.  Thanks to the hard work of the American people, we now
enjoy the longest peacetime expansion in our history.  In February, it will
become the longest economic expansion ever.  With productivity high,
inflation low and real wages rising, it is more than the stock markets
which have boomed.  This has helped ordinary people all over America.

          We have a 30-year low in unemployment, a 32-year low in welfare,
a 20-year low in poverty rates, the lowest African-American and Hispanic
unemployment rates ever recorded, the lowest female unemployment rate in 40
years, the lowest single-parent household poverty in 46 years.

          Clearly, wise leadership from the Fed has played a very large
role in our strong economy.  That is why, today, I am pleased to announce
my decision to renominate Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Federal Reserve
Board.  For the past 12 years, Chairman Greenspan has guided the Federal
Reserve with a rare combination of technical expertise, sophisticated
analysis, and old-fashioned common sense.  His wise and steady leadership
has inspired confidence, not only here in America, but all around the

          I believe the productive, but appropriate relationship that our
administration has enjoyed with the Fed has helped America play a critical
and leading role in dealing with the Asian financial crisis and many of the
other things that we have faced over the last seven years.

          Chairman Greenspan's leadership has always been crucial to these
successes.  With his help, we were able, also, last year to enact historic
financial reform legislation, repealing Glass-Steagall and modernizing our
financial systems for the 21st century.  He was also, I think it's worth
noting, one of the very first in his profession to recognize the power and
impact of new technologies on the new economy, how they changed all the
rules and all the possibilities.  In fact, his devotion to new technologies
has been so significant, I've been thinking of taking Alan.com public;
then, we can pay the debt off even before 2015.

          On a more serious note, let me say again -- this Chairman's
leadership has been good not just for the American economy and the mavens
of finance on Wall Street, it has been good for ordinary Americans.  Even
though my staff makes sure that I never give Chairman Greenspan advice,
they have not been able to stop me from asking him for his advice.  So I
would also like to thank him for the many conversations we've had over the
last seven years in our ongoing attempt to understand this amazing and
ever-changing economy.

          Finally, I would like to thank him for his willingness to serve
another term.  After these years of distinguished public service and at a
pinnacle of success, he could be forgiven if he were willing to walk away
to a more leisurely and, doubtless, more financially lucrative life.  His
continued devotion to public service should be a cause of celebration in
this country and around the world, and it's something for which I am very

          Mr. Chairman?

          CHAIRMAN GREENSPAN:  Mr. President, I first wish to express my
deep appreciation to you for the confidence that you've shown in me over
the years, And I look forward to Senate consideration.

          The Federal Reserve has been a remarkable institution with which
to work, and, as I've indicated to you inside, I must say I've enjoyed
every minute of it.  It's really been an extraordinary challenge, and
especially for an economist who likes to get into the nitty-gritty of every
statistic you've ever seen.

          My colleagues and I have been very appreciative of your support
of the Fed over the years, and your commitment to fiscal discipline, which,
as you know, and indeed have indicated, has been instrumental in achieving
what in a few weeks, as you pointed out, will be the longest economic
expansion in the nation's history.

          Your economic policy staff has been exceptional, in my view.
I've especially enjoyed working with Lloyd Bentsen, Bob Rubin, and now
Larry Summers.  These are all superb human beings, as well as first-rate
professionals.  The same goes for the rest of your economic advisors, Mr.
President -- Gene Sperling, and Martin Baily and his colleagues.

          Again, Mr. President, thank you.  I look forward to working with
you in the future.  And I must say you have been a good friend to America's
central bank.  Thank you, sir.

          THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.

          Q    Is the market irrational?

          CHAIRMAN GREENSPAN:  Helen, I --

          Q    Do you stick by your previous statements on the stock

          CHAIRMAN GREENSPAN:  You surely don't want me to answer that.

          Q    Yes, I do.

          CHAIRMAN GREENSPAN:  You do?  Well, I don't think I will.
(Laughter.)  Helen, you've been asking me questions now for decades --

          Q    Since you reformed the Social Security system.

          CHAIRMAN GREENSPAN: -- and I usually answer them.  So my record's
not bad.

          Q    Mr. President, did it take any persuading to get Mr.
Greenspan to agree to serve another term if he's confirmed?

          THE PRESIDENT:  No, I asked him and he said yes.  I wish -- you
know, when we finish here, I have to go back to Shepherdstown.  I wish I
could have so much success in the Middle East peace talks -- I just ask
them and they say yes, the way Mr. Greenspan did -- it would be quite a

          Q    Are you going today?

          Q    Mr. Greenspan, what factors played in your decision to stay?
After a decade there, one might expect you might want to retire or move on.

          CHAIRMAN GREENSPAN:  There is a certain, really quite
unimaginable intellectual interest that one gets from working in the
context where you have to put broad theoretical and fairly complex
conceptual issues to a test in the marketplace.  Unlike a straight academic
career, you end up fully recognizing that hypotheses matter, that actions
matter, the ideas that you come up with matter.  That, as I indicated, is
really quite an unusual thing for an economist to deal with, and as I think
Larry Summers probably knows as well, if not better than I, it's type of
activity which forces economists like ourselves to be acutely aware of the
fact that our actions have consequences.  And it's crucially important for
us to try to determine in advance what those consequences are.

          And that is a challenge, which I must say to you, is, as I said
to the President before, it's like eating peanuts.  You keep doing it, keep
doing it, and you never get tired, because the future is always ultimately

          Q    Mr. President, how are the talks going in the Middle East --
on the Middle East?  Syria-Israel.

          THE PRESIDENT:  Well, we just started, but all the issues are on
the table.  And it's a pretty full table, as you might imagine.

          Q    Are they going to get together?

          THE PRESIDENT:  We're working at it.  I'm going back up today,
and I'm hopeful.

          Q    Are you disappointed at all with the pace of yesterday's
talks and that the trilat did not take place?

          THE PRESIDENT:  No.  No, that was partly my decision.  We just
had a lot of other work to do.  And I'm going back today, and I think
they're both very serious, I think they both want an agreement.  I think
there are difficult issues, and we'll just have to hope that we work it

          MR. LOCKHART:  Thank you everyone.  Thank you.

          Q    How about the reports that the Israelis need $17 billion,

          THE PRESIDENT:  What?

          Q    The reports the Israelis need $17 billion --

          THE PRESIDENT:  I don't -- excuse me, I lost my cufflink -- I
think there will be some cost associated with the security rearrangements.
And then, obviously, over the long run, as I have made clear, we need to
make a contribution, as do our friends in Europe and hopefully some in
Asia, to the long-term economic development of a regional Middle East
economy.  So there will be some costs involved there -- over a period of
years, not just in one year.

          We're trying to determine exactly what that should be.  And of
course, before I can make any commitments, I will have to consult with the
congressional leadership in both houses and in both parties, and some of
the committee leaders as well.  And I have made that clear.  So we're
attempting to ascertain what the general outlines of the costs would be,
over how many years those costs can be spread, and then I will have to do
some serious consultation with the congressional leadership before I can do
more than say I would support this.

          We want to have a high probability of success, and I believe that
in America, Americans of all political parties and all stripes desperately
want us to see a comprehensive peace in the Middle East, and understand
that in the next three or four months we have an unparalleled opportunity
that we have to seize.  So I'm quite hopeful about that.

          MR. LOCKHART:  Thank you.

          Q    -- help Mrs. Clinton move to New York?

          THE PRESIDENT:  I have been helping.  We've been working at it.
We've been boxing things up, and figuring out what to leave here, what to
move there.  It's been a rather interesting challenge over the holidays.
But I've enjoyed it very much.

          Thank you.

          Q    Is $17 million, $17 billion the right figure?

          THE PRESIDENT:  I don't know yet.  What we're working on now up
in West Virginia is sort of figuring out what the process for the next few
days is going to be.  And then we have to start working on that, and
figuring out what the specific jobs are that we would be asked to help
finance, whether we could get any others to help, and over how many years
it would have to be done.  Then I'll have to go talk to the Congress.  And
I'm just not in a position yet to say what dollar amount I would ask our
Congress for.

          Q    Were you aware of these OSHA regulations, sir, about people
having to have OSHA regulations when they work at home?  Did you hear
anything about that?

          THE PRESIDENT:  No, not until I read about them.

                            END            11:55 A.M. EST

          Mara A. Silver/WHO/EOP@EOP

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