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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Is McCain Confused?

Is McCain confused about what he has said in the past, or is he being less than truthful about his previous position on Social Security privatization?:

“Without privatization..." by Cliff Schecter: This is what John McCain said regarding Social Security on November 18, 2004 on C-SPAN's Road To The White House ["...Without privatization, I don't see how you can possibly, over time, make sure that young Americans are able to receive Social Security benefits"]. Why am I telling you this? Because today during a back and forth with an elderly gentleman he said this:

"I am not for privatizing Social Security. I never have been. I never will be."

In other words, here we go again. Honestly, does anyone really believe this guy is a straight-talker anymore? How many more examples of his absolute willingness to say or support anything at any given time do we need?

Ok, you need more? You got it. Here is McCain from March of this year on at least partially privatizing Social Security:

"As part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it – along the lines of what President Bush proposed." [Wall Street Journal, 3/3/2008]

Once again, case closed. McCain has conveniently changed what he believes, because that's just what "straight-talking mavericks" do.

I guess he forgot that he voted for Bush's 2006 Social Security privatization plan.

Here's more "confusion" (this is just two things from today, it's not an exhaustive list by any means). This is part of a discussion of a report from the Tax Policy Center comparing the economic plans of the two candidates. (The report has a graph showing the impact of the plans across the income distribution. Guess which plan is more beneficial to the wealthy, McCain's or Obama's? To the working class?):

Obama And McCain On Taxes, by hilzoy: ...One more interesting note: the Wonk Room points out that this report attributes to McCain some positions that are at odds with his web site and what he's said in the past -- as recently as the day before yesterday, in fact. Most notably, McCain's website says that "John McCain will permanently repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) – a tax that will be paid nearly exclusively by 25 million middle class families." The TPC report, by contrast, says: "Senator McCain proposes to extend permanently the AMT "patch" that has prevented most individuals and families with incomes below $200,000 from being affected by the tax."

This is a big difference. ...

The Tax Policy Center consulted with both campaigns before writing this report. If what they say is accurate, then McCain has changed an important part of his tax policy, but neither his website nor (apparently) McCain himself as of two days ago have caught up with this fact. On the other hand, if the TPC is wrong, and McCain does plan to repeal the AMT, then the TPC's estimates of the cost of his tax plans need to be revised as well.

According to the CBPP, the difference between amending the AMT to exclude people with incomes under $200,000 a year and repealing it altogether is over $50 billion dollars a year. Since the CTP estimates the cost of the candidates' tax plans over a ten year period, if they're wrong about what McCain thinks, we'll just have to tack another half a trillion dollars onto their estimate of his plan's cost.

Confusion and reckless profligacy, or no confusion and even more reckless profligacy? We report; you decide.

Maybe it's just an old guy getting confused on a variety of issues, but it's starting to look like more than that. Social Security was and is a huge political issue. The chance that he is confused about or has forgotten positions he has held in the past is just not credible unless age has started to take its toll. He either knows what he said in the past and intentionally said something else to please a voter, or he can no longer remember crucial details about key issues that happened relatively recently. Either way, it raises big questions.

He deserves the same scrutiny from the media that Clinton or Obama (or Kerry) would get if they were doing these things, but that just isn't happening.

Finally, you have to wonder if this is who you want leading you into the digital age:

Sen. McCain, You've Got Be KIDDING Me!, by Maggie Barker: ...I couldn't help but laugh in disbelief at an interview of U.S. Sen McCain admitting that he doesn't know how to use a computer.

When asked by the Politico's Mike Allen whether he uses a Mac or PC, here's what he said:

Neither. I am an illiterate that has to rely on my wife for all the assistance I can get.

I mean, really? How does he not know how to use one of most simple, yet important, technologies in our homes, workplaces, research labs, schools, universities, and enterprises? ... Sen. McCain simply seems out of touch with the modern ways of the world. And he admits it, with no apologies. How can he envision and plan for America's future when he has no interest in or curiousity of current modes of communication, commerce, and education? Sure, Sen. McCain pre-dates the computer age, but how many of us have parents or grandparents who log on every now and then? I respect Sen. McCain immensely for the sacrifices he's made for this country, but times, they are a-changin'. Sen. McCain's already been left behind.

Update: Now McCain is trying to claim that his plan is not a privatization scheme, therefore what he said is not misleading. However, from TPM:

In the post below I noted how John McCain is now going in for the same Social Security 'privatization' bamboozlement that President Bush did, claiming that calling his policy 'privatization' is some sort of lie or spin.

Here's video of McCain using the word himself in 2004 and then claiming it's all a bum rap just this morning...

More from Think Progress.

    Posted by on Thursday, June 12, 2008 at 06:48 PM in Economics, Politics, Social Security, Taxes, Technology | Permalink  TrackBack (0)  Comments (72)

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