The New York Times’ Paul Krugman noted recently that, in a moment of candor, John McCain admitted economics isn’t his thing. “The issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should,” he said. But, “I’ve got Greenspan’s book,” he assured the audience.
If any needed evidence of McCain’s weakness on the economy was needed, simply witness how he has dealt with the need for economic stimulus. After last week’s debate in South Carolina, U.S. News wrote that the question of whether the economy needs a stimulus “vexed” the GOP front-runners, who “appeared unaware of the fiscal stimulus debate currently happening in Washington and being closely watched by Wall Street.”
At that debate, McCain said:
“I don’t believe we’re headed into a recession,” he said, “I believe the fundamentals of this economy are strong and I believe they will remain strong.”
In the course of seven days, McCain appears to have reversed course, offering his own stimulus package:
“The fact is we have some tough times ahead,” McCain told supporters in Columbia. But he said the U.S. economy will rebound. “We will get through this rough patch,” he said.
Instead of offering direct middle-class relief for individuals, McCain is proposing cutting the corporate tax rate by 28.5 percent. Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain’s top economic adviser, said his approach is to simply let someone else deal with the problems affecting working Americans. “The best course of action is to let the Fed handle it.”