Allegedly, John McCain is meticulously and craftily getting in good with conservatives leading up to his run for the Presidency in 2008. Sure. Fine. I guess. I don't really know what that means, because "conservatives" is a rather clumsy term that the media use lazily, but from what I gather, when it comes to tax policy, it means people who want to keep more of the money they earn in lieu of giving it to the government to, mostly, waste it. In thinking about economic policy broadly, "conservatives" believe that capital in the hands of the private sector, rather than in the hands of the public sector, gets saved and invested to its best use and has a greater impact on our standard of living over time. So in that context, let's examine McCain's recent vote, on something called "paygo."
Paygo is a Democratic Senate caucus initiative to make it harder to cut taxes in general, and for this year's budget harder to extend the capital gains and dividend tax cuts of 2003 specifically. Of late, economic "conservatives" have been producing a mountain of evidence to show that these specific tax cuts a) paid for themselves as predicted by the theory known as the Laffer Curve b) cut short the recession and began a new cycle of capital investment, and c) laid the foundation for a stock market boom that is now three years old. These tax cuts are arguably the most successful policy achievement of the Bush administration (some would say the only successful policy achievement). Despite this there are a few Republicans who have consistently sounded and voted like their political opponents on tax policy. They are:
- Maine's RINO Sisters, Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins
- Lincoln "I Wrote-in George H.W. Bush" Chafee
- George "Cry Me a River" Voinovich
So, the paygo initiative came up for a vote yesterday. Every Democrat (and Independent) voted for it and 5 Republicans crossed the aisle to vote for it, the four listed above...and John McCain. McCain might think he is being a deficit hawk (he did after all join forces with Sen. Tom Coburn to attempt to scare the full Senate into addressing the crisis of runaway pork spending), but with one vote he single-handedly told economic "conservatives," from supply-siders to small government libertarians, exactly what they didn't want to hear. Despite all the other posturing, as a starting point, John McCain thinks more of your money should begin its journey to Washington DC.
I guess he loves his "maverick" status so much that he is willing to make such a silly vote and stand in solidarity with Voinovich & Co. All the better, I guess, Senators make lousy Presidents anyway.