McCain's Plan to Further Weaken a Struggling Economy

Despite John McCain's confessed inability to use the electronic tools of the modern economic age (a computer chief among them), McCain managed to enlist former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina to convince voters (or at least corporate leaders) "that he's the right choice for the high-tech industry."

McCain knows the importance of technology to the economy and has an economic plan to encourage the type of innovation the industry thrives on, Fiorina said this morning in Washington, D.C.

Of course, when sucking up to corporate leaders it doesn't hurt to mention, as Fiorina does, that McCain is opposed to network neutrality, a position that would advantage some internet content providers at the expense of others. [more ...]

I asked her about McCain's opposition to so-called network neutrality, proposed government rules that would prohibit Internet service providers from charging websites for faster delivery of their content. McCain is on the side of the cable and phone companies, which argue that the rules would squelch investment in new broadband networks. Obama has been a big supporter of net neutrality, a huge issue among online activists that adds to his Internet buzz factor, leading some (OK, it was us) to ask if Obama is a Mac and McCain a PC.

McCain's broader economic plan consists of following the course charted by President Bush even as we sail further into troubled waters:

Since 2001, economic conditions have alternated between so-so and outright bad: a recession, followed by one of the weakest expansions since World War II, and then by a renewed job slump that isn’t officially a recession yet, but certainly feels like one.

Over all, Mr. Bush will be lucky to leave office with a net gain of five million jobs, far short of the number needed to keep up with population growth. For comparison, Bill Clinton presided over an economy that added 22 million jobs.

If Calamity McCain wins the presidency, he wants to make the Bush tax cuts permanent. His faith in tax cuts as the solution to dire economic times, while newfound, is unshakable ... just like the president's.

And what does Mr. Bush have to say about this dismal record? “I think when people take a look back at this moment in our economic history, they’ll recognize tax cuts work.” Clueless to the end.

Or, in McCain's case, clueless from the beginning (of the current campaign). 'Twas not always so:

In 2001, McCain was one of just two Republican senators to vote against the tax cuts. "I think it still devotes too much of it to the wealthiest Americans," he said at the time. And now? Well of course big tax cuts are the anchor of his economic plan. ...

It was last December at a sit-down with the Wall Street Journal editorial board when McCain first made unequivocally clear that as president, he would fight to make Bush's tax cuts permanent (some are set to expire in 2010). Boy, now that's courage. Remember the story of the French politician Alexandre Auguste Ledru-Rollin, who saw a crowd marching through Paris and reportedly said: "There go my people, I must find out where they are going so I can lead them"? Thus, McCain to Paul Gigot: Tell me where to go, master, and I will lead you there!

This week, McCain will travel the country explaining why these tax cuts – which so disproportionately are doing exactly what the 2001 McCain said they would, benefiting the very wealthiest Americans to the tune of nearly a half-trillion dollars - have to be made permanent. This is not a nip or a tuck or a refinement. This is a blatant and complete reneging on past principle.

What will McCain do for the economy beyond starving government revenues? Why, he'll balance the budget with a stern scolding and magic pixie dust.

Other aspects of McCain's plan seem even less serious. He's going to balance the budget by the end of his first term by cutting spending and cracking down on entitlements? That sounds lovely, but it's just nonsense. The federal deficit is projected – assuming the Bush tax cuts are extended, which McCain of course assumes – to total $443bn by 2013. Obama economic adviser Jason Furman estimates that reaching that number in cuts would require cutting every federal department, including defence, by one third.

Just for the sake of argument, let's assume that Furman is exaggerating and the real amount of necessary cuts is 25%, or even 20%. John McCain has been in Congress long enough to know that that is totally impossible. On top of that, McCain pledges to "reform" Social Security as a way of saving money. A Republican promising to reform Social Security is sort of like an ivory black-marketer promising to see to it that elephants are treated more humanely.

Why is McCain proposing things that are, as he surely knows, irresponsible (the tax cuts), chimerical (the budget cuts) and potential political suicide (rethinking Social Security)? The answer is straightforward. Conservatives don't trust him, and he feels he has to win their trust. That's bad policy, and it's not even good politics. The man who once said he knew little about the economy is now proving it.
< Why Dems Lose, Part . . . | Librarian Booted From McCain Event in Denver >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    Really, if we're going to make political hay (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:18:41 PM EST
    of this, there is only one relevant detail: John McCain proposes to privatize Social Security. That will go over in Ohio and Pennsylvania like an anvil.

    Not to mention Florida. (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by indy in sc on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:20:45 PM EST
    easier than that (5.00 / 1) (#5)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:33:28 PM EST
    Bush's Third Term.

    Catchall winner.


    Certainly they're linked (5.00 / 0) (#7)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:36:59 PM EST
    I don't (none / 0) (#29)
    by Ga6thDem on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 07:01:01 PM EST
    know if it's that great when the GOP is replying that Obama is Carter's second term. Frankly, neither sound too appealing to me.

    Only McCain Doesn't Have the Courage (none / 0) (#26)
    by john horse on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 06:43:42 PM EST
    to say he is in favor of privatization of social security.  Instead he uses terms like "personal accounts" and "personal savings accounts".

    and this is the candidate that our Mainstream Media has annointed as the Straight Talker?



    Carli Fiorina has no credibility (5.00 / 4) (#2)
    by GOPmurderedconscience on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:20:02 PM EST
    Carli may bring the pedigree of former CEO of a FT 100 company but she was a terrible CEO.

    She almost sunk HP, one of the greatest companies in the history of mankind. Since she left the company has been doing spectacularly well.

    She is also architect of one of the most senseless acquisition in the IT world, the HP-COMPAQ deal.

    Someone I knew once represented her in a (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by scribe on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:36:34 PM EST
    simple house purchase.

    "Never again", said that acquaintance.  Made a simple transaction into (... shoot, looking for an apt metaphor ... ) an opera of Wagnerian length.  Utterly in the spell of Master of the Universe Syndrome.

    Which, I suppose, is why McCain will lurrrve her as a VP pick.


    In Related News Typhoid Mary Endorses McCain's (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by msaroff on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:40:00 PM EST
    for his expertise in food preparation.

    Here's your.. (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by CoralGables on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:09:42 PM EST
    money quote on the Carly Fiorina performance at HP from Money Magazine:

    NEW YORK (CNN/Money) - Hewlett-Packard Co. Chairman and CEO Carly Fiorina, one of the most powerful women in corporate America, is leaving the troubled computer maker after being forced out by the company's board.

    Shares of HP (Research) jumped 6.9 percent in heavy trading on the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday on the news. But at one point, the stock was up as much as 10.5 percent.

    "The stock is up a bit on the fact that nobody liked Carly's leadership all that much," said Robert Cihra, an analyst with Fulcrum Global Partners. "The Street had lost all faith in her and the market's hope is that anyone will be better."

    I get the sinking feeling (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by stxabuela on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 06:47:48 PM EST
    that no matter who wins, the country is scr*wed.  

    All in all, the whole country is headed (none / 0) (#28)
    by tree on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 06:55:36 PM EST
    under the bus come January, no matter who wins. Its like watching a train wreck in slow motion.

    Yep! (none / 0) (#33)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 08:03:05 PM EST
    But I'd almost rather see the guy win who knows that he doesn't know it all instead of the guy who thinks he knows it all.  

    "Calamity McCain" (none / 0) (#4)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:26:23 PM EST
    Oh my delicate sensibilities!  How dare you make fun of the poor man's ability to not understand the simpliest of economic concepts.

    Where is my fainting couch?


    Seriously, (none / 0) (#9)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:42:55 PM EST
    I think McCain will try to get spending under control.  I also think he'll raise taxes, especially on the wealthy.  

    He's only planning to stay in office one term (didn't he say that?) and I don't think it matters one whit to him what the party thinks -- if he's elected.  

    He's got either 5 or 7 kids and I don't think he wants to leave them this total disaster of a USA to try and fix later.  I can see McCain going back on his word on a lot of things.  People can say what they like about him but I don't think he's stupid and I think he's been able to craft bipartisan legislation because he's able to work with others who aren't in his party.      


    Where will he cut spending? (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:47:28 PM EST
    Once you get past defense spending, Social Security, and Medicare, there's hardly anything left to cut.  Check out the pie chart.  All McCain's posturing over earmarks won't make a bit of difference to the bottom line.

    Of course we need to move back towards fiscal responsibility, but it's hard to imagine any Republican making significant cuts in the defense budget (certainly not while we're at war) and the only real option after that is to make like Newt Gingrich and slow the growth rate of Medicare and Social Security.  Now personally, I'm just not on board with balancing the budget on the backs of the poor.  I'll pay more in taxes if I have to.


    Don't (none / 0) (#13)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:52:12 PM EST
    forget, you can voluntarily pay more taxes if you would like to set the example.

    Yep (5.00 / 2) (#15)
    by Steve M on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:59:35 PM EST
    And if I were looking to make a symbolic gesture no one would ever hear about, rather than actually change things for the better, that's probably what I would do.

    Instead, I'm going to vote for politicians who I believe will pursue responsible policies.


    Cutting spending is a problem (none / 0) (#16)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:09:03 PM EST
    However I can see McCain going to war over pork barrel spending.  No more "bridges to nowhere."  I can actually see government shutting down under McCain too because I think McCain is just as tough as Bill Clinton was.

    On the flip side, I can't see cutting spending alone balancing the budget so I believe McCain will raise taxes.  He'll have to.  Hopefully he won't have a "Read my lips, no new taxes" moment.

    McCain has always been against excess spending.  

    I'm a fiscal conservative so I agree with him on this.    


    Why not take him at his word? (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by anydemwilldo on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:56:54 PM EST
    I mean, he's running on a platform.  You think that's somehow ... not what he'll do?

    I sometimes don't understand this site.  When Obama changes even the tiniest assumption underlying a position, folks here jump all over him for being an unprincipled panderer and declare that they could never vote some someone like that.

    But when McCain states flat out that he'll take a position you don't like, you just assume that he's just pandering and forgive him on the assumption that he won't do what he says he'll do?  How does that logic work?


    Yes. McCain made a good move today (none / 0) (#18)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:12:14 PM EST
    with the promise to balance the budget within four years.  Now the question is, what is Obama going to do with that?  Just attack it and ask how to do so?  That would be good to ask -- but not if it's just an attack.  Can Obama make the same promise and say how?

    That promise is huge for the business community, not to mention the rest of us.


    Ha ha ha ha ha (none / 0) (#20)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:40:15 PM EST

    Let's take him at his word.  He has a record.  He's not a blank slate.  Hey, let's vote for him for President because he'll fix this mess Bush left us in!

    You crack me up.


    By the way, those tax breaks to the wealthy? (none / 0) (#21)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:47:28 PM EST
    Buh, bye.  You can vote for McCain in the hopes that you won't be stuck paying for Bush's mess like the rest of us, but guess what.  McCain is lying.

    Those tax breaks are going to expire and McCain can't do a thing about it.

    We are going to spend the rest of our lives paying for what Bush has done.  And our kids will still be paying it when we're gone.  It's time to suck it up and face reality.

    The question is, will we cut our losses now, or try to game it a little longer with McSame.  


    It's an empty promise though. (none / 0) (#24)
    by rjarnold on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 06:27:33 PM EST
    There's no way that his plans will lead to balancing the budget. He is promising tax cuts to everyone no matter what your income level is and he can't make up the difference just by cutting medicare and some spending programs.

    McCain has a long record (none / 0) (#19)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 05:14:03 PM EST
    you can look at.  Obama doesn't.  McCain under Bush was not a good example since I think he was under pressure to comply with the party line but if you look at his record pre-2000, he was much more of a RINO.  

    No, that's not (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by weltec2 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 07:40:47 PM EST
    good enough though. I think that fundamentally McCain is not the same person that he was in 2000. It wasn't just pressure from Bush.

    Nah, I think you're wrong. (none / 0) (#31)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 07:57:17 PM EST
    I think McCain still is the same ole Maverick guy.  After Bush won, Cheney and the rest of them forced him into those closed door meetings where they tortured him until he started doing what they said (most of the time).  ;-)

    He still showed a spine when he criticized Rumsfeld first.  The old McCain isn't dead yet.  Maybe demoralized, but not dead.  

    I think he'd be different as a President because he'd be in control.  He wouldn't have to listen to them anymore.  And I think he has things to prove, things that he wants done, and that is why he's running again.  Surely he's not doing this just to be "Bush's third term."  

    As far as SS & Medicare go, don't forget that McCain has always represented Arizona which is loaded with seniors.  I can't see him dismanteling the SS/Medicare system though he might make changes to it.  He's been good with Indian affairs which is something the Bush administration never bothered to mess with.  


    Excuse me, but... (none / 0) (#34)
    by weltec2 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 08:12:23 PM EST
    McCain has been through REAL torture, something that frat boy and his Dark Lord know nothing about and could never match. He is now almost 72 years old. He makes errors of fact that he never would have made in 2000. No, I'm sorry, McCain is a sad grotesque of his former self. I like McCain very much and I have a great deal of respect for him, but he is burnt-out. It's time he retired.

    Heh! (none / 0) (#39)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 10:15:14 PM EST
    Well, it's true McCain is old and he does make mistakes he wouldn't have made in 2000.  

    My father voted for McCain in 2000, he voted for Obama this time around (but he doesn't plan to vote for Obama in the Fall).  I don't know what to tell you except I don't think the two candidates are not going to be very far apart once Obama quits moving over to the right.  ;-)  


    McCain is 71-years-old (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Veracitor on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 08:58:12 PM EST
    Obama is much more accomplished at his own age, and is perfectly qualified for the job.

    By the way, I don't believe it's permitted to campaign for McCain here.


    I'm not campaigning for McCain (none / 0) (#38)
    by Grace on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 10:12:09 PM EST
    but I don't think it's fair for people to use lies as talking points against him.  I don't believe it's fair to use that kind of thing against Obama or Clinton either.  

    I'm only offering my opinion of what I think he might do which is allowed on this blog.  I'm still a Democrat.    


    Neither was I in a comment (none / 0) (#40)
    by Cream City on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 10:31:12 PM EST
    asking more about what we might see Obama doing to reply to McCain's promise on the economy today.

    But the comment was deleted, I see.  It is getting difficult to figure out just how to talk about the campaign without talking about, well, the campaign.  Both sides of it.  I really cannot join those who pretend that there is only one side, and it is a shoo-in. . . .

    Or maybe I just ought to pretend that and just ignore the campaign until about November 1?  Better to be a low-info voter?  Pretty weird stance for a political blog to take.:-)


    These are valid points (none / 0) (#41)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 12:13:52 AM EST
    It is getting difficult to figure out just how to talk about the campaign without talking about, well, the campaign.  Both sides of it.  I really cannot join those who pretend that there is only one side, and it is a shoo-in. . . .

    As far as I know, we're allowed to state facts and opinions, just not campaign.  Snark seems to be good too.  ;-)  No libel or gossip though.  


    Learn to Forget (none / 0) (#37)
    by john horse on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 10:06:13 PM EST
    re: "if you look at his (McCain) record pre-2000, he was much more of a RINO."

    So all you have to do to be a supporter of McCain is to ignore everything he's said and done in the last 8 years.  Come to think of it, George Bush also looks a lot better if "you look at his record pre-2000".

    To be a McCain supporter you must first learn to forget.


    I have a friend (none / 0) (#42)
    by Grace on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 12:17:40 AM EST
    who has known GWB since they were both kids.  He was never any good, but he sure fooled a lot of people.  (I never voted for him.)

    meh (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:45:53 PM EST
    Bush bankrupted every business (none / 0) (#11)
    by MyLeftMind on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 04:46:54 PM EST
    he was ever involved in, the Republicans have now bankrupted our country.   It makes sense that McSame would hire the CEO that almost destroyed HP.

    If they win, we're sunk.

    Now remember John (none / 0) (#25)
    by weltec2 on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 06:28:58 PM EST
    The internet is not a big dump truck. Its a series of tubes. If you get confused, just ask your Repug friend from Alaska. He'll explain it to you.

    the key line: (none / 0) (#32)
    by cpinva on Mon Jul 07, 2008 at 07:57:55 PM EST
    former Hewlett-Packard Chief Executive Carly Fiorina

    emphasis mine.

    there's a good reason ms. fiorina is the former CEO of HP: she did a horrible job. note that she's not been snapped up by anyone else.

    with this kind of advisory help, mccain would be better off shooting himself, it'd be quicker. in truth, i don't expect the president to be an expert in all things, including the economy (though it would be nice if he/she had at least a fundamental grasp), i do expect them to hire people that are.

    if ms. fiorina is an example of the type of technical help a pres. mccain would employ, herbert hoover's reputation might make a comeback.

    Fiorina, McCain - in touch with the middle class (none / 0) (#43)
    by DFLer on Tue Jul 08, 2008 at 08:14:39 AM EST
    I read this in this morning's Star Tribune, written
    By DAVID LIGHTMAN and KEVIN G. HALL, McClatchy News Service

    McCain emphasized small business incentives in his address, charging that Obama would raise the tax rate on the 23 million small-business owners in America who file as individual rate payers.

    However, Obama has said he would raise taxes only on family income above $250,000. When pressed on what percentage of the 23 million have taxable individual income above that sum, Fiorina couldn't say.

    (my emphasis)

    And the answer is:earlier in the piece, the writers said this:

    One to 2 percent of all wage earners make more than $250,000. Obama says he wouldn't raise taxes on anyone else.
    (but what about salaried-americans?)