Yesterday, ThinkProgress noted that Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) economic advisers are abandoning McCain’s earlier talk of balancing the budget. According to the New York Times, his chief economic adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, “said that if the war and the personal and corporate tax cuts that Mr. McCain advocated added to the federal deficit and debt, so be it.” Holtz-Eakin added that he “would like the next president not to talk about deficit reduction.”
Apparently, no one gave the message to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who — while cheerleading for McCain on Morning Joe today — emphasized that “you can’t keep on growing the deficit” and said McCain has “made it very clear he wants to balance the budget.”
Scarborough is right to be skeptical. As the Center for American Progress Action Fund’s James Kvaal and Robert Gordon point out, McCain’s tax plan would:
– Double the size of the Bush tax cuts, costing more than $2 trillion in their first decade.
– Do virtually nothing for the middle class: only 9 percent of the tax cuts will go to the bottom 80 percent of households, while 58 percent will go to the top 1 percent of households.
– Follow Grover Norquist’s blueprint that’s been called a “stealth approach to tax reform” — and that aims to abandon progressive taxation in favor of a wage tax imposed mainly on low- and middle-income households.
As Holtz-Eakin himself admitted, McCain’s tax plan “will make deficits expand up front, no question.” Someone from the McCain camp should get the official talking points out to Romney: Deficits don’t matter.