Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) plans to promise on Monday that he will balance the federal budget by the end of his first term by curbing wasteful spending and overhauling entitlement programs, including Social Security, his advisers told Politico.
The vow to take on Social Security puts McCain in a political danger zone that thwarted President Bush after he named it the top domestic priority of his second term.
McCain is making the pledge at the beginning of a week when both presidential candidates plan to devote their events to the economy, the top issue in poll after poll as voters struggle to keep their jobs and fill their gas tanks.
“In the long-term, the only way to keep the budget balanced is successful reform of the large spending pressures in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid,” the McCain campaign says in a policy paper to be released Monday.
“The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. Since all their costs were financed with deficit spending, all their savings must go to deficit reduction.”
Look, it is early Monday morning, and I don’t have the energy required to be appropriately derisive of the fantasy that “victory in Iraq” is going to solve our budget problems, so instead just go see James Joyner and Matt Yglesias. Keep in mind that McCain is promising to do all this while also promising to extend the Bush tax cuts AND ramping up military spending all during a bleak economic setting with current deficit projections hovering near 400 billion annually. Oh, and did I mention the aging population and rising health care costs, and the shrinking dollar, and our energy crisis?
There really is nothing else to say other than John McCain is just making shit up.
*** Update ***
I think we may have come to that moment, that quick turn of events, that encapsulates the fact that there is apparently no limit to the howlers and nonsense that John McCain can throw out and still not generate collective guffaws or even scrutiny from the national political press.
Bear with me on this one because it’s genuinely mind-boggling.
Today John McCain is getting lots of press for his new plan to balance the budget during his first term — what can only be called an extraordinarily ambitious promise. The first pick was from Mike Allen’s piece late last night in The Politico.
Now, the general routine is the face of this kind of candidate announcement is that journalists and economists look at the numbers to see if they add up. In most cases, the exercises generates fairly unsatisfying contradictory opinions, with some experts saying one thing and other experts another.
But here’s the thing. McCain doesn’t have any numbers. None. Not vague numbers of fuzzy math. He just says he’s going to do it. Any other candidate would get laughed off the stage with that kind of nonsense or more likely reporters just wouldn’t agree to give them a write up. But this is all over the place.
The title of this post was not an accident. The McCain campaign is, quite clearly, just making shit up. It is really that simple and straightforward. they don’t have any numbers because, again, THEY ARE MAKING SHIT UP.
And the press is playing along.