Monday, September 29, 2008

Even worse

Paul Krugman's op-ed today is about how little McCain knows about economics and about how bad his economic advisors are.

We’ve known for a long time, of course, that Mr. McCain doesn’t know much about economics — he’s said so himself, although he’s also denied having said it. That wouldn’t matter too much if he had good taste in advisers — but he doesn’t.

Remember, his chief mentor on economics is Phil Gramm, the arch-deregulator, who took special care in his Senate days to prevent oversight of financial derivatives — the very instruments that sank Lehman and A.I.G., and brought the credit markets to the edge of collapse. Mr. Gramm hasn’t had an official role in the McCain campaign since he pronounced America a “nation of whiners,” but he’s still considered a likely choice as Treasury secretary.

And last year, when the McCain campaign announced that the candidate had assembled “an impressive collection of economists, professors, and prominent conservative policy leaders” to advise him on economic policy, who was prominently featured? Kevin Hassett, the co-author of “Dow 36,000.” Enough said.
Mr. Krugman fails to mention the most significant and telling economic advisor that McCain has: Arthur Laffer. Yes, that Arthur Laffer. Laffer of supply-side infamy - the crackpot theory which has been put into practice twice now and failed spectacularly. And the same Laffer who was on the Rush Limbaugh radio program somewhere back in Dec. 06/Jan 07 (I failed to mark down the date in my notes) discussing how America currently had the greatest economy in the history of the planet.

McCain may try to portray himself as a champion of the people and what not, but having Laffer on board signifies that he'll be working for the rich just like George W. Bush did.

And then there's McCain having answered to the question: what one book would you take with to the White House? The Wealth Of Nations by Adam Smith.* That's an answer that is to Wall Street what George Bush saying Jesus is his favorite philosopher was to the Religious Right.

*Barack Obama answered Team of Rivals by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a biography of Abe Lincoln which focuses on how he chose for several cabinet positions members of his opposition during a time of national crisis.

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