John McCain 'Has the Book' on the Economy All Right

Tuesday, April 22, 2008 at 09:30 PM

John McCain rather famously said once that "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should. I've got Greenspan's book." -12/18/07. McCain tried denying that he said that, and similar things, over the years, but the record of his statements is hard to overcome. So McCain seems to have resigned himself to acknowledging the quotes but quibbling about what they really indicate about his knowledge.

As the Pennsylvania Democratic Primary results drift in, I thought I'd collect a few of Senator McCain's publicly acknowledged views on the American Economy, employment, and Poverty:

From On the Issues--Free Trade:

Globalization is an opportunity--reduce barriers to trade

Lowering Barriers to Trade: John McCain believes that globalization is an opportunity for American workers today and in the future. The U.S. should engage in multilateral, regional and bilateral efforts to reduce barriers to trade, level the global playing field and build effective enforcement of global trading rules.

Competitive American Workers: John McCain understands that globalization will not automatically benefit every American. We must prepare the next generation of workers by making American education worthy of the promise we make to our children and ourselves. We must be a nation committed to competitiveness and opportunity. Source: Campaign plan: "Bold Solutions for Economic Prosperity" Feb 3, 2008


No environmental provisions in trade agreements

Q: Do you support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT)?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support continued U.S. membership in the World Trade Organization (WTO)?

A: Yes.

Q: Do you support the trade embargo against Cuba?

A: Yes.

Q: Should trade agreements include provisions to address environmental concerns and to protect workers' rights?

A: No.

Source: National Political Awareness Test (NPAT) Nov 7, 2004


NAFTA has had unambiguously positive impact on US

While the effects of the NAFTA are being closely monitored by supporters and critics of that pact alike, it has become clear that NAFTA represents an important component of our international economic policy, contributing to the creation of 300,000 new American jobs since its passage. It will likely be several more years before its full impact can be determined. The results from the first five years, however, unambiguously demonstrate that the agreement has a net positive impact on the US economy.

Source: Senate statement, “Drug Free Borders” Mar 18, 1999


Rated 100% by CATO, indicating a pro-free trade voting record.

McCain scores 100% by CATO on senior issues

The mission of the Cato Institute Center for Trade Policy Studies is to increase public understanding of the benefits of free trade and the costs of protectionism.

From On the Issues--Corporations:
Cut corporate income taxes to keep jobs here

Q: The president's economic stimulus plan would send out 116 million checks to American homes, but without permanent tax cuts that you sought. Will you vote for this compromise?

A: Yes, I will and I'm disappointed, because I think it's very important that we make the Bush tax cuts permanent. I voted to make them permanent twice already. If people and businesses and families in America are now planning their 2010 budget, there's a great deal of uncertainty. And if we don't make the tax cuts permanent, then they will experience what amounts to a tax increase. But I also would make sure that not only the tax cuts are made permanent, but we cut corporate income taxes. That would keep businesses here, and it would keep jobs here and create jobs here. We pay the highest corporate income tax of any nation in the world except for Japan. I'm glad to see that we're going to allow people to expense new investments in equipment, so they can write them off in a very short period of time.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008


Voted NO on repealing tax subsidy for companies which move US jobs offshore.

Amendment to repeal the tax subsidy for certain domestic companies which move manufacturing operations and American jobs offshore.

Reference: Tax Subsidy for Domestic Companies Amendment; Bill S AMDT 210 to S Con Res 18 ; vote number 2005-63 on Mar 17, 2005

Voted YES on reforming bankruptcy to include means-testing & restrictions.

Amends Federal bankruptcy law to revamp guidelines governing dismissal or conversion of a Chapter 7 liquidation (complete relief in bankruptcy) to one under either Chapter 11 (Reorganization) or Chapter 13 (Adjustment of Debts of an Individual with Regular Income).


Reference: Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005; Bill S 256 ; vote number 2005-44 on Mar 10, 2005

Voted YES on restricting rules on personal bankruptcy.

Vote to pass a bill that would require debtors able to repay $10,000 or 25 percent of their debts over five years to file under Chapter 13 bankruptcy (reorganization and repayment) rather than Chapter 7 (full discharge of debt). Reference: Bill HR 333 ; vote number 2001-236 on Jul 17, 2001

From On the Issues--Welfare & Poverty:
Use tax code to address unemployment & working conditions

McCain supports the following principles concerning employment:

Provide tax credits for companies that move into areas with high unemployment

Reduce government regulations to encourage investment

Establish empowerment zones in areas with high unemployment

Encourage employers to offer flex-time scheduling, comp-time and unpaid leave to attend to their family responsibilities

Provide tax credits for businesses that provide on-site child care.

Source: Project Vote Smart, 1998, Jul 2, 1998

... Anti-poverty shared by gov’t & faith-based orgs

McCain indicates his support for direct federal poverty aid through religious, community-based or other non-profit organizations. He says, “Welfare and anti-poverty assistance is a shared responsibility among federal, state and local government; the private sector; community and faith-based organizations. Welfare policy must provide a strong safety net, while promoting work, responsibility, self sufficiency and dignity.”

Source: 2000 NPAT Jan 13, 2000

So I guess he really was telling the truth. At least about having Greenspan's book. Too bad Greenspan's play calling isn't looking too good right now.

I wonder how the PA primary's going.