Monday, September 15, 2008

Alan Greenspan: We Can't Afford McCain's Tax Cuts

I thought I'd celebrate my 100th post of The Liberal Curmudgeon by focusing on numbers that don't add up. John McCain's numbers, specifically.

In an interview on Saturday with Bloomberg Television, shown above, Alan Greenspan, former Federal Reserve Chairman and lifelong Republican, stated that we can't afford McCain's tax cuts.

Bloomberg TV: John McCain's proposed $3.3 trillion in tax cuts in two terms. Can the nation afford tax cuts of that magnitude?

Greenspan: Unless we cut spending? No.

Bloomberg TV: And would you tie any tax cuts to spending?

Greenspan: I always have tied tax cuts to spending.... I'm not in favor of financing tax cuts with borrowed money.

Remember ancient history, when the Republicans called themselves the party of fiscal discipline? When was the last time the nation followed Greenspan's principle of balancing taxes with spending? Under the Democratic administration of Bill Clinton. We had more than a balanced budget then–we had a surplus.

George W. Bush went to work on that surplus immediately.

Now we're conducting two wars, giving tax cuts to millionaires and billionaires and corporations that ship American jobs overseas, and running up a huge deficit. In contrast to Greenspan's "pay as you go" approach, the Bush administration has been having a ball with the credit card by borrowing money from Asian banks. Let our grandkids take care of it.

McCain proposes more of the same: more tax cuts that we can't afford to benefit those who need them least. All part of "the maverick's" plan to "reform the ways things are done in Washington."

As recounted in an Associated Press article, McCain admitted that he knows less about economics than foreign affairs (a series of gaffes on the latter lend doubt about his expertise there too) and was trying to learn more by reading Greenspan's "The Age of Turbulence."

Touching, isn't it, how both Republican candidates are trying to cram as many facts into their heads as they can on economics and world affairs? I guess they've heard that presidents and vice presidents should know this stuff.

McCain said that he would pay for his cuts "by ending congressional pork barrel spending, unnecessary government programs and overhauling entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security." Congressional earmark spending is estimated at $17 billion annually.

So let's cut Medicare and Social Security to afford tax cuts for the wealthiest. Republican priorities at their finest.

Democratic Senator Mary McCaskill of Missouri said, "Obviously he [McCain] needs to go back to that [Greenspan's] book and study it some more... That's a huge amount of money, but it's not even a drop in the bucket to pay for $3.5 trillion in tax cuts. So, every time he throws up earmarks and he's asked how he's going to pay for it, he knows he's being disingenuous, he knows he's not being forthcoming." 

McCain "disingenuous"? Hasn't McCaskill seen how honest his campaign ads are?


Anonymous said...

Once again you make numerous compelling arguments as to why we cannot afford to vote for the Republican ticket. What you are not doing, however, is making equally compelling arguments why we should vote for Obama/Biden. Obama won the primaries by energizing his constituents positively. They wanted to vote for him, not necessarily against Clinton et. al. There are many good reasons to be enthusiastic about the Democratic platform - health care reform, for one. Let's beging to enumerate them.

media monkey said...

McCain's plans for such tax cuts play no role in reality. Neither do his accusations against his opponent. We can all depend on McCain to consistently, and with strength of will, spread lies and sleaze all over the media.

Jeff Tone said...

Anonymous: Fair enough. I've thought about this. It would be ideal just to compare the candidates' stance on issues. The problem is that presidential campaigns are now based on attacks that dominate news cycles. Several days, for example, were taken up with the "lipstick on a pig" and "sex education" nonsense. No issues could get through. In those cases, bloggers, video producers and others must respond and counterattack–especially when one's candidates, until recently, didn't seem ready to do so.

Remember when Kerry allowed himself to be Swiftboated? No amount of insistence that "such distortions aren't worthy of response so let's get back to the issues" helped. In the midst of attacking McCain/Palin, though, I also try to include Obama's positives, as I did in today's post.

Jeff Tone said...

Media Monkey: The fact is that McCain doesn't have the issues. He's been with Bush over 90% of the time on the most important concerns of the day: war, economy, health care and more. That explains his reliance on lies and sleaze.