If there was still any doubt that a John McCain presidency would mean four more years of Bush’s disastrous economic policy, a recent interview with conservative radio host Laura Ingraham should serve to quell any lingering uncertainties, (h/t Think Progress) (emphasis original)

INGRAHAM: And now look: the dollar’s weak, we have serious competition from abroad, government is running a deficit. … What are the Republicans going to do if China ultimately overtakes us economically and does that matter?

MCCAIN: I still believe the fundamentals of our economy are strong. We’ve got terribly big challenges now, whether it be housing or employment or so many of the other – health care. It’s very, very tough times. It’s very tough. But we’re still the most innovative, the most productive, the greatest exporter, the greatest importer.

You don’t need to be an economist to see through the ridiculous assertion that our economy is fundamentally strong, as the same Think Progress story demonstrates,

– Inflation is rising. The U.S. economy is currently experiencing “the worst 12 months of inflation in almost three decades.”

– Real wages are declining. Americans are experiencing a “de facto pay cut.” “Almost everything costs more, even as [Americans] have less money to pay for it.”

– Unemployment is increasing. Americans have experienced “seven consecutive monthly declines in employment.”

– Cost of food is rising. Food prices are quickly increasingand even school lunches across the country will be more expensive in the coming year.

– Optimism about economy is declining. “Optimism in the U.S. economy among CEOs of the nation’s fastest-growing private companies” is at a 16-year low. Americans are similarly pessimistic.

– Foreclosures are still increasing. Home foreclosures were up 55 percent over last year in July and “17 [percent] of all homes for sale in the U.S. are repossessed properties.”

The economy has trumped terrorism, national security and the Iraq war as one of the top issues concerning Americans and yet McCain appears to be unaware that families are hurting and frightened that things will only get worse before they get better. 

The fact that we’re facing what may the worst economic period since the Great Depression spells only bad news for Republican prospects, McCain’s included, given that it’s their failed policies of excessive tax cuts, free trade and deregulation that have precipitated this mess.  Yes, Democrats bear their share of responsibility too but it’s the Republicans who are trying to perpetuate this failure so it’s hardly surprising that McCain would attempt to paint a rosy picture of our current outlook by saying the fundamentals are still strong.

Not only is McCain trying to ignore just how deep our troubles are, his prescription for what ails us is to do more of the same.  The Republican mantra that raising taxes on the rich and regulating markets will only result in job loss has been repeated time and again over the past three decades but it’s precisely these policies that have resulted in a spiraling deficit and the current Wall Street meltdown that threatens to bring our whole economy down with it.  But rather than abandon the failed policies of the past, McCain insists that we stay on the same course, all the while parroting the same misleading talking points as Dean Baker’s article, Swift Boat Economics points out,

Senator McCain now faces a similar situation in this election. He is stuck running on the record of a president who is presiding over an economy that is sinking into recession and is facing the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. By contrast, Senator Obama can claim the legacy of the strong economy of the Clinton years.

Tarred with the most dismal record of job creation and income growth of any president since the Great Depression, it would be reasonable to expect that Senator McCain would be defensive on the economy; but not in Swift Boat America.

Instead Senator McCain is filling the airwaves with commercials telling the public that Obama’s tax increases will slow growth and cost the economy jobs. It’s pretty scary stuff to anyone who takes it seriously.

Of course, there’s no truth to Senator McCain’s Swift Boat economics. During the eight years of the Clinton administration, when rich people paid the same tax rates proposed by Senator Obama, the private sector added 15.8 million jobs. By contrast, in the seven years and six months of the Bush administration, when rich people paid the Bush-McCain tax rates, the private sector has added just 3.5 million jobs. And, it is losing jobs at the rate of almost 100,000 a month as President Bush prepares for retirement.

Baker goes on to point out the reasons behind economic success or failure go beyond simple tax policy but the fact remains that not only do higher taxes not automatically result in slow growth but in fact the economy can, and has, thrived while everyone pays their share of the tax burden.  And adequate regulation does not have to impede growth but rather, can reign in the kind of greed that led to the housing bubble, Wall Street’s problems and the oil bubble that has lined the pockets of a few while wreaking havoc on the economy in general.

America has, more or less, followed these economic policies for over thirty years now and the result has been not only financial uncertainty in our own lives but also to mortgage our children’s futures.  It’s time to say no to McCain and his failed supply side economics and to begin crafting policies that make sense for working Americans.

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