McCain: Trust Me!

July 8th, 2008

Josh Marshall has an excellent rundown on why McCain’s promise to balance the budget is an empty sham. Short version: he has no numbers because there is no way to draw up any plan–even a fuzzy, shoddy one–that could possibly achieve what he’s promising. So instead, he’s just saying that (a) he will cut wasteful spending which he won’t currently identify save for limited examples, (b) he will magically win the war in both Iraq and Afghanistan, apparently using secret plans he will not reveal to us or even to the White House but they will work and save us money, and (c) the economy will have “reasonable growth,” apparently for no reason other than because McCain will magically imbue them with confidence despite all indicators to the contrary.

All this will happen despite the fact that McCain promises another layer of tax cuts mostly for wealthy people which will cost $3.6 trillion over the next ten years, and he promises to increase military spending.

Now, let’s see… cutting taxes significantly and mostly for wealthy people, growing the military, cutting waste, and promising to magically balance the budget… hmmm, where have I heard that before? Oh yeah! Every Republican presidential candidate for the past few generations!

And how has that worked out? Let’s see… Reagan: started massive deficits; Bush: continued massive deficits; Bush Jr.: after Democratic Clinton balanced the budget, Bush Jr. brought us back to massive deficits again. Did any of them cut waste? Not really–they tried to cut Medicare and other programs most Americans approve of and want, but certainly under the last Bush, who had the Congress doing whatever he wanted, waste exploded.

Essentially, we’ve seen exactly what these promises will bring. McCain would cut taxes, mostly for the wealthy (as he has laid out), and I don’t doubt that he’d increase military spending (as Obama probably will as well). He might even try to carry out his promise to veto pork, except that (a) there’s not nearly as much cuttable pork as he suggests (but somehow never fully identifies), and (b) Congress would probably override his vetoes anyway.

But as for balancing the budget? Forget it; the budget will simply explode even more; that’s pretty much a foregone conclusion. Even if he did everything he promised, he could never even come close to balancing. Especially if he did everything he promised, in fact. Even in McCain’s Super-Duper Magic-Pony 2013 Ultra Fantasy World™.

  1. Tim Kane
    July 8th, 2008 at 12:40 | #1

    Call it the hocus-pocus plan.

    I’ve got to quit worrying about Obama and continue remembering what I’ve said about McCain: that he’s a self check and will take himself out.

    I mean it’s stunning:

    The guy doesn’t even know how to use a personal computer, he can tell Iran from Iraq, or Sunni Terrorist from Shia Insurgents, admits that he doesn’t know much about economics, and now we find out that he can’t produce, let alone add up numbers.

    On top of that he wants to take Bush’s Iraq plan and multiply it by 100 years, and his economic plan and increase it.

    I recently read where Bush is looking at possibly creating only 3 million jobs in 8 years. Clinton averaged 2.5 million every year.

    Knocking-on-wood, I can’t imagine anything, right now, short of some disaster of epic proportions to the Democrats, that would get McCain elected. Even while Obama is busy jumping the shark. Gas at $4 a gallon, high food and energy bills, the dollar worth 50% of its 2000 value, people have no more room to back up to. Republican party policies are an absolute train wreck and people have no more room to give to the Republicans to straighten things out.

    Deep down inside, I think OPEC, led by the Gulf Arab states, are holding back oil to keep the price high and push the Republicans out of office. This is similar to 1992 when Greenspan kept interest rates high prolonging and deepening the recession, aiding Clinton. Perhaps Greenspan was punishing Bush I, for being tough on Israel. (
    No, I am not an anti-Semite – nothing farther from the truth). The last thing Gulf Arab states want is a bigger or more of a mess over there in their back yard. Thats why the Saudis turned Bush down on his recent trip where he plead that they open up the spigots.

    Interesting when I think of it. In 2004 Bush went to Rome to get the then Pope, and the Current Pope to bang on the local Bishops to support him – two weeks later my local diocese Bishop sent a letter out to be read at Masses that implied voting for Kerry could be a mortal sin. I have very little doubt that that was a very important margin in him winning Missouri (my state) and others like it. Now, in 2008, Bush goes on another foreign junket to win the election, this time instead of Rome, its to the Middle East, and this time they tell him to jump in a lake. A month later Kerry goes and the Saudi’s are telling him that American policy has given Iraq to Iran on a silver platter. So, I’m just putting 2 and 2 together. OPEC is voting with its spigot.

  2. Luis
    July 8th, 2008 at 13:37 | #2

    When Democrats come into office, jobs increase and the economy, on the whole, does better. Conservatives might try to sell you on the idea of coincidence, Republican influence from Congress or elsewhere, or the benefits of the prior Republican administrations, but that doesn’t wash.

    Simply put: a Democrat in office raises taxes on the wealthy while giving the middle and lower classes a moderate break, gets minimum wage increases passed, and holds industry slightly more in check, helping labor. This shifts enormous amounts of wealth back into the cycle which gets the economy going, as opposed to the conservative/Republican system, where the money rises only to the top and stagnates there, staying out of the reach of both the majority of citizens and the government.

    When Democrats funnel more money back into the cycle, it starts the economic engine, creating more jobs, energizing domestic business, strengthening fiscal foundations, bringing confidence (even “exuberance”) to the markets in an organic way, not in an artificial pumped-up form. This also brings more money into government by way of revenue generation, allowing for a lowering of the deficit.

    This is a strong, healthy system that–ironically–benefits the wealthy almost exactly as much as the Republican way does, but without most of the destructive side-effects.

  3. stevetv
    July 9th, 2008 at 00:12 | #3

    I saw McCain on CNN earlier this morning talking about his plan to balance the budget. Hooray for CNN! They actually challenged him, providing studies showing that his plans would increase the deficit.

    McCain came off like a temperamental buffoon, coming off as if anyone who doubted his ability was an idiot. As for his responses, he just continued to assert that the economy would grow out of the deficit. How anyone could vote for him is beyond me.

  4. Tim Kane
    July 9th, 2008 at 06:18 | #4

    Luis: Wonderfully and succinctly stated. Maybe you can give a short speech at the Democratic convention.

    Republican policies sideline money, Democrat put employ it and put it into action. Two years from now, I’m hoping we’ll have some exuberance.

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