The Progress Report
The McCain Economic Council : Looking at the members of McCain's "economic council those who advise the campaign on economic issues -- it becomes clear why he is so divorced from the bad economy. Some of his economic advisers helped create the housing crisis, some abused corporate loopholes to hide billions in corporate profits, and some simply refuse to admit that there is anything seriously wrong with the economy. A look at some of McCain's economic gurus:
THE 'ECON BRAIN,' PHIL GRAMM: Former senator Phil Gramm is known as McCain's "Econ Brain." Recently, he has called America "a nation of whiners" who are in a "mental recession." While in the Senate, he was behind the Commodity Futures Modernization Act and the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. The former made legal "the mortgage swaps distancing the originator of the loan from the ultimate collector," while the latter "destroyed the Depression-era barrier to the merger of stockbrokers, banks and insurance companies....
CARLY FIORINA.... She was forced out of HP after a merger with Compaq failed to bring Hewlett the profits that Ms. Fiorina had forecast," resulting in tumbling shares.... While McCain has recently condemned "golden parachutes" -- excessive compensation for exiting CEOs – by saying, "CEOs that led us into this mess are walking away with over $20 million, and we're not going to let that happen as president.... They deserve nothing," Fiorina walked away from HP with a $21 million severance package, which, with another $21 million in options, brought her $42 million. In a 2007 interview with Fortune, Fiorina said that “what we ought not to do is regulate or legislate CEO compensation."
THE CHIEF LOBBYIST, RICK DAVIS: After the bailout of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, McCain and his running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK), published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal that called lobbyists "primary contributors" to the crisis. One of these lobbyists though, is McCain's own campaign manager, Rick Davis, who "served as president of an advocacy group led by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that defended the two companies against increased regulation." Davis challenged even the smallest reform measures intended to make sure that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac were being held more accountable for their actions. This helped the mortgage giants, "consistently [beat] back congressional efforts to increase oversight, even after a major accounting scandal in 2003 resulted in a $400 million fine for Fannie.
THE IDEOLOGUE, DONALD LUSKIN: Like McCain, Luskin believes that "things today just aren't that bad," and everyone should "quit doling out that bad-economy line." In a Washington Post op-ed last Sunday, he wrote that "we have surely become a nation of exaggerators" regarding the economy, despite agreeing that "the foreclosure rate is the worst since the Great Depression." Luskin claimed that "unemployment is up a bit," when it is at a five-year high of 6.1 percent. He also asserted that the housing crisis is "over." As evidence of the economy's strength, he pointed to last quarter's GDP growth of 3.3 percent, yet "somehow fail[ed] to mention that the quarter before, it was 0.9%, and the quarter before that, -0.2%." Luskin also failed to note that one of the primary reasons for the growth was the "$90 billion in economic stimulus payments that reached