In what I imagine reflects an ongoing power battle among McCain's staff, one of his economic advisers--Doug Holz-Eakin--is now speaking for McCain on issues outside of the economic realm, namely illegal warrantless wiretapping. He says that McCain embraces the unconstitutional Bush-Nixon claim that "It's not a crime if the president does it." The problem for Doug is that McCain previously said just the opposite.
He's flatly contradicted his boss on perhaps the most basic question of public finance as well. At a forum I attended, he was asked ""Does Senator McCain believe that tax cuts pay for themselves?" and he said "No."
But McCain has said on multiple occasions that they do. Here's a snippet from an interview with the National Review where he couldn't have been clearer in claiming (wrongly) that tax cuts raise revenue.
Ponnuru: If you could get the Democrats to agree, or at least to come to the table on entitlements or on tax simplification, are those circumstances under which you’d be willing to accept a tax increase?Question for McCain: "You have said multiple times that you share the belief of Arthur Laffer, one of your advisers, that tax cuts increase government revenue. Another one of your advisers says that you don't hold that view. So which is it? Do tax cuts increase revenue or not?"
Sen. McCain: No; no.
Ponnuru: No circumstances?
Sen. McCain: No. None. None. Tax cuts, starting with Kennedy, as we all know, increase revenues. So what’s the argument for increasing taxes? If you get the opposite effect out of tax cuts?
Follow-up: [If he does believe tax cuts increase revenue] "As CBO Director, your adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin published a study that said that you're wrong. Only a miniscule number of economists agree with you. On what basis do you hold your view?"
Follow-up: [If he doesn't believe tax cuts increase revenue] "The Tax Policy Center calculates that your tax plan will lead to a shortfall and increase the national debt by %5.7 trillion, about $50,000 per household. Who will pay off that debt?"