McCain is Calling for 'Neo-Hooverism' and He's Wrong
Recently, several media commentators as well as politicians have been championing what the Center for American Progress Action Fund's Matthew Yglesias dubbed "neo-Hooverism" -- the notion that the next president should significantly curb spending due to the financial crisis. While it was certainly a mistake for the Bush administration to amass such huge deficits, the severity of the current economic crisis calls for loosening of fiscal restraint. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman explained, "[R]ight now, increased government spending is just what the doctor ordered, and concerns about the budget deficit should be put on hold." "[I]t is clear that additional federal supports are required to help jump start our economic recovery and lay the foundation for long-term growth," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) yesterday. Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), however, is defying the advice of the economists, proposing a drastic reduction in government spending. "And I'll cut spending," he said. "I will keep [Americans] taxes low."
THE NEW HOOVERS: During the third presidential debate, McCain proclaimed that the public "wants a new direction. I can bring them in that direction by eliminating spending." McCain has advocated a freeze on all discretionary spending, a radical proposal that would in turn allow inflation to eat away at Head Start funding, Pell Grant funding, unemployment benefits, and food stamp programs, just to name a few. On Monday, McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin acknowledged that balancing the budget will be "harder" to do because of the economic downturn. Nevertheless, Gov. Sarah Palin (R-AK) still commits to a balanced budget by the end of the first term. Sens. Norm Coleman (R-MN) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) have also committed to aggressively pursuing a balanced budget during the economic crisis.