Date registered: Feb 2006
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...Short On Economic Understanding, McCain Brings Phil Gramm to Meeting
The New York Times’ Paul Krugman noted recently that, in a moment of candor, John McCain admitted economics isn’t his thing. “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should,” he said. But, “I’ve got Greenspan’s book,” he assured the audience.
If any needed evidence of McCain’s weakness on the economy was needed, simply witness how he has dealt with the need for economic stimulus. After last week’s debate in South Carolina, U.S. News wrote that the question of whether the economy needs a stimulus “vexed” the GOP front-runners, who “appeared unaware of the fiscal stimulus debate currently happening in Washington and being closely watched by Wall Street.”
At that debate, McCain said:
“I don’t believe we’re headed into a recession,” he said, “I believe the fundamentals of this economy are strong and I believe they will remain strong.”
In the course of seven days, McCain appears to have reversed course, offering his own stimulus package:
“The fact is we have some tough times ahead,” McCain told supporters in Columbia. But he said the U.S. economy will rebound. “We will get through this rough patch,” he said.
Instead of offering direct middle-class relief for individuals, McCain is proposing cutting the corporate tax rate by 28.5 percent. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s top economic adviser, said his approach is to simply let someone else deal with the problems affecting working Americans. “The best course of action is to let the Fed handle it.”
At a recent meeting with the Wall Street Journal editorial board, Republican presidential candidate John McCain admitted he "doesn't really understand economics" and then pointed to his adviser and former Senate colleague, Phil Gramm - whom he had brought with him to the meeting - as the expert he turns to on the subject, The Huffington Post has learned.
The incident was confirmed by a source familiar with the proceedings of the meeting.
On the campaign trail, McCain has often made light of his lack of economic policy understanding. But his concern over such a shortcoming may be even greater then he has suggested.
This is not the first time McCain has turned to Gramm as a buffer for criticism of his economic views - or lack thereof. Gramm, who regards himself as a budget-balancing, anti-government spending Republican, was brought on board a sputtering McCain campaign last summer. Since then, McCain has staged a political recovery and is now a serious contender for the GOP nomination.
After joining the campaign, Gramm has remained by the candidate's side to "vouch for Mr. McCain's fiscal and security bona fides," according to the Dallas Morning News. Even prior to McCain's flop, Gramm was advocating on his behalf, writing a flattering February 2007 oped in the Wall Street Journal on his behalf.
During his 18 years in the Senate, Gramm helped spearhead the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, which allowed commercial and investment banks -- like Citigroup-- to more easily merge. The Texas Republican ran for president in 1996, but dropped out prior to the New Hampshire primary, despite at one point having $25 million in the campaign coffers.
McCain and Gramm are two long-time colleagues, and Gramm shores up a political weak-spot that McCain readily acknowledges exists. In recent campaign stops the Arizona Republican touted his desire for a new round of tax cuts, as well as encouraging investment and economic stimulus by ending the alternative-minimum tax. But he also admitted that, "the issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." Adding, "I've got [former Fed Chairman Alan] Greenspan's book."
Even as far back as 2005, McCain was admitting that he lacked depth in economic policy. Writing in the Wall Street Journal, columnist Stephen Moore offered a probing and at times blunt assessment of McCain's economic policies. "[He] readily departs from Reaganomics," Moore wrote. "His philosophy is best described as a work in progress. He is refreshingly blunt when he tells me: "I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues. I still need to be educated."
And to whom did McCain tell Moore he turns to for advise? "His foremost economic guru," wrote the columnist, "is former Texas Sen. Phil Gramm (who would almost certainly be Treasury secretary in a McCain administration)."
McCain's office did not return multiple requests for comment. The Wall Street Journal, as a company policy, does not comment on meetings that take place privately with their editorial board.
"People around the table were sort of taken back," said the source . "They thought McCain would have better answers."
America became the greatest, most prosperous nation in human history through low taxes, constitutionally limited government, personal freedom and a belief in sound money. We need to return to these principles so our economy can thrive again. When enacted, my plan will provide both short-term stimulus and lay the groundwork for long-term prosperity.
Other candidates talk a lot about stimulus packages, but my record stands alone. I have fought for these measures for years as a member of Congress and will make them a top priority as president.
Ron Paul, a 10-term Republican Congressman from Texas's 14th District, is currently the ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee's Subcommittee on Domestic and International Monetary Policy, Trade, and Technology. He has been named "Taxpayers' Best Friend" for 10 consecutive years by the National Taxpayers' Union. Ron Paul is also the author of several books on monetary policy and economics.
The Four-Point Plan
1. Tax Reform: Reduce the tax burden and eliminate taxes that punish investment and savings, including job-killing corporate taxes.
2. Spending Reform: Eliminate wasteful spending. Reduce overseas commitments. Freeze all non-defense, non-entitlement spending at current levels.
3. Monetary Policy Reform: Expand openness at the Federal Reserve and require the Fed to televise its meetings. Return value to our money.
4. Regulatory Reform: Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley regulations that push companies to seek capital outside of US markets. Stop restricting community banks from fostering local economic growth.
1. Tax Reform
- Eliminate Taxes on Dividends and Savings. The basis of capitalism is savings, and Americans who do so should be rewarded.
Pass HJ Res. 23 to encourage savings over consumption.
- Repeal the Death Tax. Attacking small businesses and breaking up family farms smothers growth and kills jobs.
Pass H.R. 2734 to make the Bush tax cuts permanent.
- Cut Taxes for Working Seniors. Grandmothers and grandfathers working to make ends meet should keep all the fruits of their labor.
Pass H.R. 191 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the inclusion in gross income of Social Security benefits.
- Eliminate Taxes on Social Security Benefits. That money belongs to seniors, not the government. They paid into the system for a lifetime, and they should be free to spend every penny as they see fit.
Pass H.R. 192 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to repeal the 1993 increase in taxes on Social Security benefits.
- Accelerate Depreciation on Investment. We need to help companies grow and create jobs.
Pass H.R. 4995 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to reduce corporate marginal income tax rates.
- Eliminate Taxes on Capital Gains. Investment should be embraced and rewarded.
Pass H.J. Res 23 (The “Liberty Amendment”), proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the United States relative to abolishing personal income, estate, and gift taxes and prohibiting the United States Government from engaging in business in competition with its citizens.
- Eliminate Taxes on Tips. The single parents and working students who earn their income chiefly through tips deserve to keep all of their money. This tax on "estimated income" is unfair and should be ended.
Pass H.R. 3664 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide that tips shall not be subject to income or employment taxes.
- Support the Mortgage Cancellation Relief Act. Working families who lost their homes should not be punished a second time with a big IRS bill.
Pass H.R. 1876 to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to exclude from the gross income of individual taxpayers discharges of indebtedness attributable to certain forgiven residential mortgage obligations.
2. Spending Reform
- Reduce Overseas Military Commitments. Our bases and troops should be on our soil. It's time to stop subsidizing our trading partners in Europe, Japan and South Korea.
- Freeze Non-Defense, Non-Entitlement Spending at Current Levels. I vote against all bloated, pork laden spending bills and will veto them as president.
3. Monetary Policy Reform
- Televise Federal Open Market Committee Meetings. An institution as powerful as the Federal Reserve deserves full public scrutiny.
- Expand Transparency and Accountability at the Federal Reserve.
Pass H.R. 2754 to require the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System to continue to make available to the public on a weekly basis information on the measure of the M3 monetary aggregate and its components.
- Return Value to Our Money. Legalize gold and silver as a competing currency.
Level the long-term boom and bust business cycle by passing H.R. 4683, which would repeal provisions of the federal criminal code relating to issuing coins of gold, silver, or other metal for use as current money and making or possessing likenesses of such coins.
4. Regulatory Reform
- Repeal Sarbanes/Oxley. It has seriously wounded our capital markets and helped make the UK a financial center at our expense. Ending these misguided regulations would bring jobs flooding back to the United States.
Pass H.R. 1049 to reform Sarbanes-Oxley and reduce the burden it places on small businesses.
- Repeal or Remove Costly and Unnecessary Federal Regulations. Neighbors know best how to help their neighbors. We need to make it easier for community banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions to better serve their communities and to help people in these communities get access to credit and capital.
Pass H.R. 1869 to enhance the ability of community banks to foster economic growth and serve their communities, boost small businesses, increase individual savings, and for other purposes.
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|It's true the American Economy is doing great.........||Jakarta Expat||Off-Topic||1||03-25-2008 09:30 AM|
|ATTENTION: The reason why 1 of our posters still thinks the economy is doing great...||Jakarta Expat||Off-Topic||0||03-14-2008 09:06 PM|
|Do you agree......................||Jakarta Expat||Off-Topic||0||01-16-2008 10:58 PM|
|At least, or at last, one candidate we can all agree on:||tcp_ML500||Off-Topic||9||06-21-2004 03:51 PM|
|Agree or Disagree?||s-l-k||R170 SLK-Class||3||04-28-2004 05:58 PM|