Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Portrait of McCain's Economic Advisor

Yeah, it almost sounds like a joke, but here's an interview with McCain's economic policy wonk . . . who isn't being paid.

Last time I checked, that wasn't good economics - either something is very wrong with the demand or the supply is overly plentiful.

Plus, I really fear for our economy under McCain and the interview doesn't do much to assuage that.

I think you said-correct me if I'm wrong-that a 10 percent individual income-tax cut would result in a $1.24 trillion revenue loss over 10 years.
That was the CBO [Congressional Budget Office] study? ... I don't remember the details of the study, but that certainly sounds about right.

So the basic argument is that you have to do something about the entitlement programs, correct?
Yes.

So what does Senator McCain propose? I don't think he is willing to raise the cap on payroll taxes, or undertake any other major initiatives that would really address the issue. Is that incorrect?
There's Social Security, and then there's the health programs: Medicare and Medicaid. On Social Security he's said that you can fix it, [that] you can fix it without raising taxes, and that the real obstacle is political. He has not put forth a plan, because he doesn't want to somehow make it harder to get the political consensus done. He's going to ask Congress to solve it, and if they don't, he's going to send them a plan and ask for an up-or-down vote.

What kind of a plan?
He hasn't put out a plan, it's true. But if you look at the menu of things that are out there-the thing called "Pozen price indexing," which slows the benefits at the upper end [of the income scale], or if you raise the normal retirement age from 67 to 68 ... a combination of things easily brings the system into balance over the long term. This is not rocket science. There are a lot of options. He knows that, so rather than dictate a solution that will run into political problems, he's saying, "Look, I know we can do this. It's a political issue to get it done. I'll call on the Congress to do it the minute I'm president."



So what's ahead is cuts to healthcare and Social Security. Bon voyage!

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