Thursday, June 12, 2008

What Does McCain Think About the Big Questions of Economic Policy?

The astounding truth appears to be that he doesn't know. He really wasn't kidding when he said,"The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should."

Consider these three questions:
1) Do tax cuts increase government revenue and thus pay for themselves?
2) Should Social Security be privatized?
3) Should the Alternative Minimum Tax be repealed?

On all three questions, McCain (or his website or his advisors on his behalf) have said both yes and no. These are perhaps the most fundamental questions of economic policy. Why doesn't a reporter just ask him what he thinks about each of these questions and then, regardless of the answer, point out to him that he has said just the opposite?

I have documented the contradictory answers to question 1 here.
Via Mark Thoma, here's Cliff Schecter's documentation of McCain saying both yes and no to question 2. Also via Mark, here's hilzoy on question 3.

(Note that in the case of question 3, the contradiction is between what the Tax Policy Center (TPC) analysis implies that his campaign told them and what's on his website. It is possible that TPC misunderstood what the campaign said.)

I keep waiting for some reporter or town hall questioner to point out that McCain's health care plan would amount to a massive tax increase if it works out the way his advisor says it would, as I explain here. Given his evident confusion on the more straightforward questions listed above, I wonder if he even understands what his health care plan would do.

1 comment:

hilzoy said...

If you're cataloging McCain's idiocies on economics, don't forget one of the biggest of all, which I describe here:

Sample: "People talk about a stimulus package. Fine, if that's what we want to come up with. But stop the spending first."

The mind reels. Even my mind, and I'm not an economist.