During the presidential debate Friday night, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) was asked for “major ways” in which his approach to the presidency has changed, in light of the budget problems potentially associated with the $700 billion federal bailout bill working its way through Congress.
McCain responded to the question by advocating a “spending freeze on everything but defense, veteran affairs and entitlement programs.”
McCain did qualify his answer a bit with his next statement, adding that he would fund “several other vital issues,” which remained unnamed. But if McCain were to freeze “everything” then, among other things, he would allow inflation to eat away at:
- Funding to the 908,412 children in the federal Head Start program.
- Funding for the 6 million students who receive federal Pell Grants for college.
- Unemployment benefits, even though unemployment is at a seven-year high of 6.1%.
- The $24.6 million currently funding “110 national park improvement projects and programs.”
This list is almost endless. Would McCain freeze spending on foreign aid to Israel and Columbia? Is he going to freeze the Community Development Block grants program or funding for NASA? Will he freeze funding to infrastructure projects, like those undertaken by the Federal Highway Administration?
McCain needs to be asked what, in the end, he considers a “vital issue” worth spending federal money on, and what programs would fall victim to his massive spending freeze.