Greenspan: Inflation Is Lower Than You Think

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WASHINGTON, D.C.: Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan told the Senate Finance Committee Thursday that the Consumer Price Index should be adjusted downward, and called for the creation of an independent commission to monitor future increases. Greenspan, who has long pushed for an adjustment to the CPI, told Senators he fully agreed with a December report that the index was overestimating inflation by 1.1 percentage points annually, an error that will cost the government $1 trillion over the next 12 years in cost-of-living increases and lost tax revenue. "Greenspan has been pushing for an adjustment to the CPI for years," notes TIME's Bernard Baumohl. "What's new in his call for yet another commission to study the matter is that this would be an independent commission, rather than a government one that presumably has an interest in recommending that the CPI be lowered. This could make its findings more acceptable." The commission would be a permanent body of prominent economists that would provide Congress yearly with nonpartisan information that could be used to adjust the CPI downward for use in figuring cost-of-living increases and adjusting tax brackets to keep inflation from pushing taxpayers into higher brackets. "This type of approach would have the benefit of being objective, nonpartisan and sufficiently flexible to take full account of the latest information," Greenspan said.