John McCain’s big economic policy speech hasn’t really gotten the attention it deserves from progressive blogs. But recall that we’ve heard in earlier McCain addresses that he wants to continue the war in Iraq indefinitely and also that he thinks we need to boost baseline defense spending. In his economic speech, he does what Republicans do and proposes a huge raft of tax cuts. Naturally, being a straight-talker, he’s not afraid to tell people that a certain price will be paid for these defense hikes and tax cuts. As he explains, paying for his program will require “taking the savings from earmark, program review, and other budget reforms.”
Or, in reality, obfuscation. Clearly the reforms per se aren’t going to save any money. McCain is proposing processes that could lead to program cuts. But he won’t, you know, actually name any programs that he think ought to be cut. Because, after all, if he told people what he was planning to cut, they might realize that they liked these programs. So better to refer to them in a vague way. But in essence, McCain is saying we should reduce funding for our transportation infrastructure. And that at a time of rising food prices, poor people should get less in the way of food assistance. And that the federal law enforcement apparatus should do more with less. That product safety inspections can be pared back. That maybe environmental and labor regulations don’t really need to be enforced. Or perhaps the national parks should fall into a state of disrepair. Who knows? McCain won’t tell us what’ll get the ax, but there’s just no way to do what he’s proposing to do on the tax-and-warmongering sides of the budget without seriously scaling back on domestic programs.