Like his buddy George W. Bush, John McCain believes that the economy is essentially good, and that all those of who are hurting just need to suck it up just like he did over the summer, when his campaign was flailing. The DNC does a good job of highlighting this disconnect in their newest ad:
And even leading Missouri Pepublicans object to the slender policy fixes that McCain actually has.
Look at Jo Ann Emerson’s piece in the SE Missourian on April 13th, for example. McCain’s big bugaboo is government spending, especially earmarks. (McCain has vowed to veto every bill with earmarks.) Yet as Emerson points out, earmarks are necessary for vital infrastructure, like roads and ports, all over the country.
Members of Congress, on the other hand, can be good advocates for the districts they represent. If not for our ability to check and balance the executive branch by raising local issues, life would be very different in rural America. In the 8th District, for example, the only way to ensure the roads we need get built is to insert an earmark – a guarantee the money will be spent for its intended purpose. Four-lane construction of U.S. 60 depends on earmarks for steel and concrete. OMB would never call this project a priority, and without federal funds it never would have happened.
Emerson also points out that the US Constitution gives Congress the power to appropriate funds. It’s good to see a (Republican!) member of Congress siding with Congress against the executive branch for a change. I hope she’s not just rehearsing for next January, when the rest of the Republican caucus will suddenly discover oversight.
I’ll add that even given the overly generous definition of earmarks McCain uses to buttress his argument, there are only $52 billion in congressional earmarks, hardly enough to offset the current budget deficit AND McCain’s proposed tax cuts for the wealthy. That definition of earmarks also includes American aid to Israel and funds for military housing. Can anyone see a McCain administration cutting funds for either of these items? Straight talk indeed.
More below the fold.
I don’t often agree with Kit Bond, but he’s correct about McCain’s flaky gas tax holiday. McCain proposed that we halt the 18.4 cents federal tax on each gallon of gas for the entire summer. But Bond exclaims, “I don’t see how cutting funds to fix bad roads and fight congestion helps families.” The lost tax revenue would deprive the federal highway fund of $8.5 billion. The lowered price would also spur demand for gas, which would only bring the price up even more over the long haul. Maybe McCain thinks that the traffic jams and crumbling roads will dampen demand. He’ll eventually fill us in with some straight talk, I suppose.
What we really need is a greater investment in alternate sources of energy and a larger commitment to conservation. These will actually create jobs, unlike the pennies McCain is throwing at the poor.