At an event honoring Georgia business leaders on 17 May 2007, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan said that the United States could solve the problem of skilled labor shortages needed to build up U.S. infrastructure if the country would make it easier for foreign workers to come to America.
As the U.S. Senate takes up the immigration reform debate again this week, numerous political interests on all sides of the issue have been positioning themselves to be heard.
<$adv0>"We used to be a melting pot but now seem to have some trouble with that. I think that's sad," said Greenspan. He believes the issue could be solved with a "stroke of the pen," if only Congress and the Whitehouse could come to an agreement. Until then, the U.S. is just hurting itself by "restricting the supply of a skill or all sorts of skills."
Greenspan has spoken before on the topic of liberalizing U.S. immigration policies and is known for his support for more migrant workers.
In 2003, before the issue of immigration reform became such a hot topic in U.S. politics, Greenspan testified before a Senate committee that immigration would be a potent solution for an aging U.S. population.
He predicted that by 2030, the growth of the U.S. workforce will slow from 1% to 0.5%. While it remains to be seen if this prediction will pan out, his comments are certainly taken seriously.
In February 2007, Greenspan forecast a one-third chance that the US could face a recession that year or early 2008. The next day the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 3.3% of its value, dropping 416 points - the worst one day loss since just after the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks.
While it's not thought that the drop was completely due to his comments, he is nonetheless considered extremely influential.
After stepping down as Federal Reserve Chairman in 2006, he started his own consulting business called Greenspan Associates LLC and is currently working on a memoir.
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