I had to play the TIVO back several times in order to make sure I heard this right. Here’s John McCain this morning on the floor of the Senate, talking about the stimulus bill:
MCCAIN: Mr. President, the American people are figuring it out that this is not a stimulus bill it’s a spending bill full of unnecessary spending, unexamined policy changes or policy changes that have been examined and rejected in the past and of course tax cuts, which really do not stimulate the economy.
Yet here’s McCain promoting tax cuts as stimulus from a recent interview with Chris Wallace:
WALLACE: As that package now stands, can John McCain vote for it?
MCCAIN: No. We need to make a commitment that there will be no new taxes. We need to cut payroll taxes, we need to cut business taxes, we need to have a commitment that after a couple quarters of GDP growth that we will embark on a path of say called graham-rudman to reduce spending to get our budget in balance. We’re going to lay an additional two trillion basically dollars of debt on future generations of Americans. Is there going to be a point at which foriegn countries such as the Chinese stop buying our debt? Look, we’ve got to eliminate the unneccessary spending. There has got to be some kind of litmus as to whether it will really stimulate the economy and whether it will in the short term.
He also told Wallace that the Bush tax cuts need to be made permanent.
Slip of the tongue this morning? I don’t think so — McCain was echoing the latest Republican talking point that this bill is a "spending" bill not a "stimulus" bill, which Obama forcefully countered in his speech last night. ("Then you get the argument well this is not a stimulus bill, this is a spending bill. What do you think a stimulus is? That’s the whole point.")
Where would McCain get the idea that tax cuts are not good stimulus? Possibly from his economic advisor Mark Zandi of Moody’s, who put together this chart that you have no doubt by this point seen:
McCain is evidently one of the biggest behind-the-scenes obstructionists set on tanking the stimulus bill. Even he knows his tax cut fetishism is just so much noise.