In an interview published in the Wall Street Journal yesterday, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) abandoned his plan for Social Security, in which he proposes “supplementing the current Social Security system with personal accounts.” Instead, McCain told the WSJ that “as part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it — along the lines that President Bush proposed.”
Asked about the contradiction between his website and his own statements, McCain said he would “correct any policy paper that I’ve put out.” As of today, however, his website still hasn’t been changed to reflect his embrace of Bush:
As Steve Benen notes, McCain is now aligning himself with “Bush’s biggest domestic policy debacle.” In 2005, when President Bush was pushing his plan to privatize Social Security, 55 percent of Americans believed that it was “a bad idea to change the Social Security system” while only 36 percent of Americans approved of how Bush was handling the issue.
McCain fails to understand that replacing the current Social Security system “in whole or in part, with personal investment accounts” would likely “make things worse.” This should come as no surprise though, as even members of his own campaign team admit he is unprepared for a “policy wonk debate“:
“If this comes down to some policy wonk debate between McCain and Hillary or Obama, well, we’re not going to win that one,” is how a John McCain political adviser, in a recent chat with me, assessed the Republican presidential candidate.
McCain’s Social Security flip-flop is yet another example of his cluelessness on economic issues.