In an interview with the Washington Times today, former senator Phil Gramm, who is Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) “econ brain,” blamed the state of the economy on “the conviction of many Americans that economic conditions are the worst in two or three decades.” “You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession,” said Gramm.
Gramm decried the “constant whining” of the American people when it comes to the economy because he believes “we’ve never been more dominant”:
“We have sort of become a nation of whiners,” he said. “You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline” despite a major export boom that is the primary reason that growth continues in the economy, he said.
“We’ve never been more dominant; we’ve never had more natural advantages than we have today,” he said. “We have benefited greatly” from the globalization of the economy in the last 30 years.
Despite McCain’s recent claim that we are in a recession, he has previously echoed Gramm’s diagnosis of the economy. In April, McCain said that “a lot of our problems today, as you know, are psychological.” Watch it:
At the same time he was blaming the state of the economy on the economic anxiety of the American people, Gramm also blamed the media. “Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day,” said Gramm.
Blaming the economy on the media is a common McCain campaign strategy. In June, McCain econ adviser Kevin Hassett claimed that the press wants to “convince everyone that the economy is in recession” in order to hurt McCain. Informal McCain adviser Karl Rove argued in February that the economy “stinks” because of the media.
UPDATE: Watch Phil Gramm’s “whiners” remark: