Friday, March 28, 2008

Incoherence from McCain's Adviser on Housing Crisis

One of McCain's economic advisers is Doug Holtz-Eakin, who had a reputation as director of the Congressional Budget Office as an economist with integrity. Since he signed on with McCain, he has seemed determined to shred that reputation.

On Tuesday, McCain gave a much ridiculed speech on the housing crisis on Tuesday. The main components of McCain's plan, apart from some eat-your-peas moralizing, were calling for a meeting of accountants (I'm serious) and to ask mortgage lenders to "pledge" to help. (Since when did economic policy become like signing up people to donate for a walk-a-thon?)

The most ominous piece of McCain's speech was his line about the importance of "removing regulatory impediments to raising capital." Among everyone except the most deranged right-wingers, it's clear that the crisis illustrates the need for more regulation of the financial system.

Then, yesterday Obama gave a thoughtful speech on the crisis which put financial regulation in a broad historical perspective and laid out details on how to address the crisis, including through a new regulatory regime.

Speaking for McCain, Holtz-Eakin said, "I don't think there is any grand disagreement about the need for effective regulation. The bottom line that Senator Obama came up with is what Senator John McCain said on Tuesday."

In fact, McCain said exactly the opposite of what Obama said. Did Holtz-Eakin get training in Orwellian up-is-downism talk, or is it a virus that he acquired by close proximity to McCain?

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