McCain Flips And Flops On Balancing The Budget

McCain sure makes it easy, doesn't he? Say it with me: John McCain was against balancing the budget by the end of his first term before he was for it. (Of course, before he was against it he was for it...that rarest of rare double flips.)

From The Politico:

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plans to promise on Monday that he will balance the federal budget by the end of his first term by curbing wasteful spending and overhauling entitlement programs, including Social Security, his advisers told Politico. [...]

The pledge is a return to an earlier position he'd later backed away from. On April 15, McCain backed off a February pledge to balance the budget in his first term when asked about it by Michael Cooper of  The New York Times, who reported that McCain said "at a news conference ... that `economic conditions are reversed' and that he would have a balanced budget within eight years."

Now he's back to promising to achieve the impossible within just 4 years. How does he intend to do it? Well, in addition to "overhauling" Social Security, which worked out so well for George W. Bush, he'd use all the savings we reap from "victory" in Iraq and Afghanistan. Umm, right.

"The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. Since all their costs were financed with deficit spending, all their savings must go to deficit reduction."

Maybe someone should tell him that his own Iraq policy involves staying in Iraq once his so-called victory is achieved...ya know, for 100 years after the point when the fighting stops, which is apparently when the staying starts. So even if this funding prescription weren't the sort of thing Harold Hill might sell to River City, it's really not clear that there will be any savings whatsoever by the time his first term is up.

Not to mention that what he's saying appears fantastically impossible. From Jason Furman, Obama's economic policy director:

Furman pointed out that the Congressional Budget Office now estimates a 2013 deficit of $443 billion, assuming the Bush tax cuts are extended. And he estimated that McCain would have to cut discretionary spending--including defense--by roughly one-third to bring the budget into the black by then.

"McCain would have to pay for all of his new tax cuts and other proposals and then, on top of that, cut an additional $443 billion from the budget--which is 81 percent of Medicare spending or 78 percent of all discretionary spending outside of defense," Furman said.

The upshot here is that, per usual, McCain is shifting his political position to pander to what he thinks people want to hear. But at the same time, once again, McCain seems to completely miscalculate what it is people want to hear. He has said repeatedly that he believes Republicans lost their majority in 2006 not because of the war but because of spending. Now, I won't deny that Republicans' profligate borrowing and spending led to severe disillusion among Republicans with their own party, but the idea that spending is the key to people's anxiety about government and the economy is a joke. If anything, people feel that there's too much spending abroad, that there needs to be more investment at home. It certainly makes sense for McCain to try to brand himself as a fiscally responsible Republican, the anti-Bush, but are people really going to buy the latest fiction he's peddling, especially when it seems so out of whack with the mood of the country?

Tags: 2008 Presidential election, balanced budget, Economy, John McCain (all tags)

Comments

7 Comments

Re: McCain Flips And Flops

This is really absurd.  The MSM better call him on this.  Its irresponsible really.  McCain is living in a fantasy world where George Bush was never the President.  

by cycl06 2008-07-07 10:26AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Flips And Flops

Oh come on, they haven't called him on the claim that the Bush tax cuts were a boon to business (which they weren't) or the fact that the policies that McCain proposes are "business friendly, like Bush's, which have done so much to help business's in this country that both the  S &P and NASDAQ are down for the entire presidency (unheard of before this) and the Dow is up a whole 9% over 7 and 1/2 years (also a record low, and actually down for inflation) while gas prices have quadrupled, health care has doubled and food price indices have doubled, and wages have stayed relatively flat for inflation (24% inflation/21% wage increases). Um, really, how does this not get reported every time McCain states this stuff?

by Dog Chains 2008-07-07 10:42AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Flips And Flops On Balancing The Budget
Rev. Ken knows how to deal with budgets..
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/sto ry/0,25197,23983649-2703,00.html
by nogo postal 2008-07-07 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Flips And Flops On Balancing The Budget

That's interesting, so now we are going to "win" the wars and then use the savings in the next 4 years to be in the black?  THat's pretty incredible, expecially since we may be forced out of Iraq by Maliki by the end of the year.  From the updates I have heard, Afghanistan is worse than before and we currently don't have (or never had) enough troops or resources over there.

There seem to be a lot of obstacles that McCain will have to avoid in order to enact his magical plan.  Perhaps if we are psychologically and emotionally will it, the plan will physically manifest, like our new found psychological independence from foreign oil.
Time to drop the "maverick" and add the "magic" to his name.  Iam sorry that is wrong, he is more of an illusionist

by KLRinLA 2008-07-07 11:59AM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Flips And FlopsThe Budget

The McCain advantage in this election is that he can promise anything he wishes. After all, there will be no second term.

by shergald 2008-07-07 12:58PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain Flips And Flops On Balancing The Budget

McCain is also conveniently forgetting to add the rebuilding of the military that will need to take place when we have victory.  The military equipment situation is appalling right now and only getting worse by the day.

I suppose this is like how the budget gets settled without the cost of the war included, like it will magically take care of itself and then "whoops" we need more money outside of what we budgeted.  

Maybe this is the correct fiscal policy for our debt-minded society...we can tell our bosses "Whoops" I need more money I did not get in my contract because I have this bill I did not count on.  

McDreamin'

by Hammer1001 2008-07-07 04:33PM | 0 recs
Re: McCain On Balancing The Budget

So, McCain's going to balance the budget with Grandma's Social Security Check.

Nice.

by Bush Bites 2008-07-07 07:19PM | 0 recs

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