Hoisted from Comments: Mark Graber, John Yoo, and the Problem of Academic Evil
Confusion in Economic Policy

McCain Doesn't Seem to Have the Character to Be a Good President

Dean Baker on John McCain's economic policies:

The Meltdown Lowdown | The American Prospect: 1. Confusing Tax Day and April Fools' Day 1: McCain's Tax Breaks: Some politicians have trouble distinguishing between tax day and April Fools' Day. After all, they both come in April -- it's so confusing. This year, Senator McCain pulled the best prank -- he proposed a huge tax break for Exxon and the other big oil companies. With a straight face he announced that he wanted to eliminate the gas tax during the summer driving season to save drivers money....

[P]rice is determined by demand, because supply is constrained by the refinery capacity of Exxon and the other big oil companies.... [With] fixed... supply, so the price will go as high as is necessary to eliminate any shortages. If the price of gas is determined by demand, then what happens to the price when we eliminate the gas tax? That's right, absolutely nothing. The price will stay exactly the same, drivers will pay as much for gas during the summer driving season as they would have paid if the tax was left in place. The difference is that instead of 18.4 cents a gallon going to the government to pay for maintaining roads and bridges, this money will go to Exxon to keep CEO pay high, and make Exxon shareholders happier.

Senator McCain had more too. In addition to extending President Bush's tax cuts, he wants to cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, eliminate the alternative minimum tax, [and] double the dependent exemption from $3,500 to $7,000.... These tax cuts will cost in the range of $400 billion to $500 billion a year (13 percent to 16 percent of the budget), and Senator McCain has no way to pay for them, other than a one-year freeze on domestic discretionary spending. That can maybe get you $10 to $15 billion, but where is the rest of the money?...

I am going to have to revise my (preliminary previous) judgment that economic policy in the McCain camp was under control and not-insane. I was clearly wrong.

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