Want the most destructive assessment you can get of a John McCain policy proposal? Just ask McCain’s own senior policy adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, a formerly serious economist who has turned himself into a genuine political disaster. For months, the McCain campaign implied its health-care plan would be budget-neutral. But last weekend, Douglas Holtz-Eakin admitted to The Wall Street Journal that to fill the gap between the tax deductions McCain wants to end and the tax credits he wants to offer, a new Republican administration will have to cut something like $1.3 trillion from Medicare and Medicaid over the next ten years. Missed that bombshell? Democrats working Florida didn’t.
In September, Holtz-Eakin infamously claimed that McCain helped create the BlackBerry, but his big gaffes go further back. In June, he conceded that offshore drilling wouldn’t affect oil supplies or prices anytime soon. In July, he submitted a budget plan to the Washington Post assuming McCain — the guy who says a withdrawal timetable would lead to genocide — will cut $150 billion a year from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan by 2013. And when the Tax Policy Center discovered a $2.8 trillion gap between McCain’s public proposals and his formal policies, Holtz-Eakin replied that just because McCain says something “doesn’t mean it’s official.” Result: headlines like “McCain May Not Speak for the McCain Campaign on the Economy.”
And this week? Here’s how Holtz-Eakin described McCain’s new mortgage buy-up plan on Wednesday: “We would in fact be taking the negative equity position and putting it on the taxpayers’ books.” Tasty!