Today, as part of a broader effort to sell Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) job-stimulus plan, the McCain campaign “released a statement signed by over 300 professional economists” who support the senator’s proposal.
McCain’s sudden embrace of professional economic opinion is confounding. In June, after the campaign failed to find a single economist to endorse McCain’s proposal for a gas tax holiday and his claim that off shore oil drilling would reduce gas prices, McCain and his top advisers repeatedly trashed economists:
– Sen. John McCain: “If you want to call it [his gas tax proposal] a gimmick, fine. You know the economists? They’re the same ones that didn’t predict this housing crisis we’re in.”
– Senior Advisor Carly Fiorina: During an appearance on ABC’s This Week, Fiorina “scoffed at the lack of support from economic analysts” for McCain’s proposed gas-tax holiday, “‘I don’t think it matters,’ she said.”
– Senior Advisor Douglas Holtz-Eaken: “You can stack all the economists end to end and still not find common sense.”
What a difference a month makes. Now, the McCain campaign is arguing that “the economists” matter after all, even if they rejects the senator’s signature economic proposals. As Avi Zenilman points out, the 300 conservative economists who endorse McCain’s plan still reject “two big chunks” of the senator’s proposal: “the gas tax holiday and his promise to balance the budget by 2013.”
As the Wonk Room has previously pointed out, suspending the gas tax would transfer more wealth to Saudi Arabia and increase “our contribution to global warming for our kids to inherit.” McCain’s promise to balance the budget while simultaneously providing a $175 billion tax cut to the nation’s largest corporations is similarly unrealistic.
McCain’s economists seemingly agree.