Wednesday, July 09, 2008

McCain's Schizophrenic Election Year Balanced Budget Proposal

Sometimes John McCain the politician who desperately wants to be president has a little problem squaring up himself with the John McCain who sometimes championed antiwaste measures in the U.S. Senate. Unfortunately, there isn't hardly enough of the old John McCain in his latest election year federal balanced budget proposal, which boldly claims to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term while extending the Bush tax cuts and offering huge new big corporate tax breaks, even to the oil companies. McCain's election year balanced budget proposal is just some political stunt, with a schizophrenic mix of proposals significantly reducing federal revenue while claiming the ability to balance the budget in just four years. It's wacky election year political pandering at it's very worst. It's almost as if the "Straight Talk Express" has finally reached the end of the line and now intends to permanently park for the rest of the election at the station, where now the foolish hype and silly nonproposals will dominate.

It was only recently that John McCain claimed that he was no economic details guy. And his new balanced budget proposal sure proves that point very well. Serious economists argue that the McCain proposal is only likely to drive up the deficit with big proposed tax breaks to corporate America. And very few Americans probably think that the big oil companies really deserve big tax breaks right now with their record profits and sky high prices. You have to only wonder what McCain is thinking, unless he's simply pandering to some big corporate donors because his own presidential campaign is so badly managed and has real money problems itself.

With all of the economic uncertainty of the current economic problems facing the country, it is certainly more than wishful thinking for McCain to even claim that he can balance the federal budget in the next four years. The Obama campaign is not so foolish to make such a bold claim. And a large part of the McCain hope relies on the politically impossible feat of making huge cuts into entitlement programs or privatizing Social Security. But strong lobby organizations such as the AARP, public concerns, especially among retirement age persons as well as a Democratic controlled congress would certainly stand against any such changes to Social Security.

McCain is also more of a war hawk than even George Bush. Rather than scale back military spending and war involvement, he could well involve the United States into a dangerous huge costly war with Iran that would make Iraq look like some old time ice cream social by comparison. This would certainly be a budget buster for sure and could drive oil prices off the map. Serious economist already claim that oil could hit $7 a gallon by 2010 even without a war with Iran. And you know that a Republican like McCain won't just talk about war with Iran forever. They will actually do it at some point, no matter what a bad idea it is and how it will backfire and harm the U.S. more than anything. It would make the Iraq mistake look petty by comparison.

I know that there's an election looming. But John McCain betrays his own "Straight Talk Express" ethics when he proposes some federal balanced budget plan that he knows that he cannot achieve in just four years simply because it sounds real good to some voters. And of course the real devil is in the details, as serious economists don't really find much in this proposal that can really be achieved. The huge tax cuts will only boost the federal budget deficit and any spending cuts such as those to entitlements are highly unlikely to pass congress at any meaningful levels.

McCain also seems to ignore how much impact the lingering economic downturn in the country will have as well. If the current huge downturn in American business such as real estate continues on for some time, and energy prices are not meaningfully rolled back to some more acceptable levels, then huge inflation of food products and other goods will only hurt consumer spending as much of the consumer income goes into paying for sky high gasoline or heating bills. McCain has no real answer for this either.

John McCain's balanced budget proposal just doesn't seem to want to work in any one single direction at a time. It wants to cut government tax revenues, especially from corporations, which means that government will have less income, yet proposes to close the deficit with less revenue. And political reality dictates that the sort of entitlement cuts that McCain would like to see are not politically possible. It's simply not a serious proposal ready for prime time. It's mere election year hype and fluff. Like the old ad used to say, "Where's the beef?".

John McCain may be a very nice man at times. He is also sometimes funny. And he has a great life story, having survived captivity in Vietnam. But he's simply wrong on the issues as his economic nonplan really well betrays. McCain's balanced budget proposal is just more of same old tired Republican economic policies that brought the U.S. into the sky high oil prices and severe economic downturn that we're in now. Who in the their right mind would even think that more of the same is the right solution. Change is what's needed.


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