NALC: McCain Presidency –Different Face, Same Script As Bush

From the National Association of Letter Carriers

All signs point to Arizona Sen. John McCain being anointed as the Republican nominee for president at the GOP convention in September. All signs point to something else as well—a McCain presidency would simply parrot the economic policies found in the script followed by George W. Bush.

The evidence is littered all along McCain’s campaign trail. In January, with the housing crisis intensifying, the price of oil climbing toward record highs, economic growth slowing and workers’ real income dropping, he told Lou Dobbs on CNN that the “fundamental underpinnings of our economy are strong.”

This judgment comes from a veteran lawmaker who had told reporters in December 2007 that “the issue of economics is not something I’ve understood as well as I should.” McCain added, though, “I’ve got Greenspan’s book.” Perhaps he’s finished reading it.

In the Arizona senator’s view, the economy has been doing so well since 2001 that he has voted time and again to make Bush’s tax cuts for the wealthy permanent.Perhaps more alarming to middle-class families, however, McCain has promised to slash corporate taxes even more and cut government “people programs” to cover the cost.

Like Bush, McCain favors more deregulation—even though the deregulation of the financial industry is widely regarded as the culprit for the home financing disaster that finds millions of people at risk of foreclosure.

Another sign the script would be the same in a McCain White House is his stand on Social Security reform. In his 2008 State of the Union address, Bush once again trotted out “personal accounts”—the first step on the slippery slope to privatization—as a “fix” for Social Security. McCain’s campaign website reiterates the candidate’s support for “supplementing the current Social Security system with personal accounts.” Never mind that investing Social Security tax money in the private equity market would expose citizens’ retirement benefits to the wild gyrations of the stock market.

According to the script, there is some good news: private accounts could generate billions of dollars—in commissions for brokers and bankers.

McCain is also in lockstep with Bush on privatizing government jobs. In 2006, he voted to approve a measure that included, among other things, the outsourcing of 350 maintenance jobs at Washington’s Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The result was a horrifying decline in living conditions for severely injured Iraq and Afghanistan vets.

And some final food for thought: Bush has recklessly spent hundreds of billions of borrowed dollars, driving up the national debt. McCain, however, has not shown much inclination to impose fiscal discipline, aside from erasing “earmarks” that amount to less than 1 percent of the annual deficit. This is from a recent newspaper editorial:

“Regrettably, Mr. McCain’s entire balanced-budget fiscal policy, such as it is, almost certainly is built on smoke and mirrors…. [W]e also understand arithmetic, and we’re concerned that Mr. McCain does not…. His math doesn’t add up. Mr. McCain needs to provide much more detailed information about how he intends to balance the budget.”

That harsh assessment was not penned by the editorial board of The New York Times. It appeared in the April 18 issue of the deeply conservative Washington Times. It seems everyone has something to worry about if the Bush administration goes into reruns with McCain at the helm.