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."

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.

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. AlterNet’s journalists work tirelessly to counter the traditional corporate media narrative. We’re here seven days a week, 365 days a year. And we’re proud to say that we’ve been bringing you the real, unfiltered news for 20 years—longer than any other progressive news site on the Internet.

It’s through the generosity of our supporters that we’re able to share with you all the underreported news you need to know. Independent journalism is increasingly imperiled; ads alone can’t pay our bills. AlterNet counts on readers like you to support our coverage. Did you enjoy content from David Cay Johnston, Common Dreams, Raw Story and Robert Reich? Opinion from Salon and Jim Hightower? Analysis by The Conversation? Then join the hundreds of readers who have supported AlterNet this year.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure AlterNet remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to AlterNet, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.