Tuesday, June 03, 2008



More than one of my friends was less disturbed than I was when John McCain admitted, almost cavalierly, that he doesn't know much about economics. [Apparently he doesn't know much about Iraq either, but we'll hold that for another day.] Informed about McCain's admission that he's clueless about the economy-- something borne out by a breathtaking voting record that could easily have predicted the mortgage market collapse, spiraling gasoline prices and the specter of stagflation-- people just say, "Oh, he'll get solid advisors if he's elected." Forget for a moment that when it was disclosed that George W. Bush had the IQ on an amoeba and didn't know anything about anything everyone said, "Oh, he'll get solid advisors if he's elected," leading to a menageries of incompetents and criminals from Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Rove, Alberto Gonzales all the way down to Secretary of the Interior Gale Norton, John Bolton, FEMA Director Michael Brown and Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao.

We were promised Bush's adult supervisors would keep him on good behavior. Instead we've wound up with a gaggle of avaricious, self-serving ass-kissers and enablers. Would McCain be any better? All evidence-- every bit of it-- points to the fact that McCain would be far worse. That his campaign is the most lobbyist-driven effort in the history of American politics should say a lot about the people in whom he places his trust. That his lobbyist/staffers have been helping him formulate policy while taking millions of dollars from Saudi Arabia, China, companies for which McCain has been helping win contracts that steal American jobs... and now we learn that his top lobbyist/staffer, the nefarious Charlie Black has shady connection with Iran.

All pretty bad. But the worst of it harkens back to McCain's professed ignorance of the economy. Who does he scoop up to be his "economic brain?" Longtime McCain crony Phil Gramm is probably more responsible for the collapse of the subprime mortgage industry and the resulting dislocation in the economy than any other person alive. Fitting McCain would go right to him. While helping McCain come up with his strategy for how to deal with the mortgage crisis-- demonizing the victims of predatory lends and telling them to go get a second (or third) job and stop taking vacations while authorizing hundreds of billions of dollars in corporate welfare to bail out the perps-- Gramm was a highly paid lobbyist for... one of the perps. Gramm, who is McCain's co-chair of McCain's campaign as well as his chief economic advisor is also a vice chairman of UBS and "was being paid by a Swiss bank to lobby Congress about the U.S. mortgage crisis at the same time he was advising McCain about his economic policy, federal records show." McCain has publicly admitted that Gramm has advised him on the very topics that he was being paid to push by UBS.

In a new story entitled More Headaches for McCain's Camp, Newsweek reveals that "UBS is also currently the focus of congressional and Justice Department investigations into schemes that allegedly enabled wealthy Americans to evade income taxes by stashing their money in overseas havens." One of Gramm's closest aides is working for UBS to kill legislation co-sponsored by Senator Obama that would crack down on foreign tax havens. Needless to say McCain strongly and adamantly opposes the bill and continues his long-standing support for foreign tax havens. Gramm is just the latest in a long line of sleazy characters that make up the McCain court. They are the baggage he's dragging into the election and seeks to drag into the White House.

I nearly left out one of the predictable outcomes of McCain's economic voting record: the announcement today of the closure 4 GM plants. All those lost jobs can be directly traced to ideological policies the clueless McCain rubber stamped while he was a senator. This morning Barack Obama issued a statement about GM's annoucement:
"My heart goes out to the workers and families affected by the closing of these GM plants, including the Janesville plant that I visited a few months ago. Today's news is a painful reminder not only of the challenges America faces in our global economy, but of George Bush's failed economic policies. For eight long years, we've had an energy policy that funds both sides in the war on terror without promoting fuel efficiency or helping make our auto companies more competitive. That's part of the reason thousands of more Americans in Wisconsin and Ohio will no longer be able to count on a paycheck at a time when they're already being pinched by rising costs. Unlike John McCain, I'm not in this race to extend the failed Bush economic policies; I'm in this race to end them. I've proposed investing $150 billion over ten years in green energy and creating up to five million new green jobs. We'll finally provide domestic automakers with the funding they need to retool their factories and make fuel-efficient and alternative fuel cars. And we'll invest in efforts to make sure that the cars of the future are made where they always have been-- in the United States. Because the fight for American manufacturing is the fight for America's future-- and I believe that's a fight this country will win."

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At 8:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You mean McCain't don't ye Ken?


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