Meh Culpa

New McCain Campaign ad

There’s a new McCain campaign ad in Northern California now. I’ve seen it twice. Makes me want to throw a shoe at the TV. I’m not going to give it more air time, but I will provide the link to the analysis on

I agree with most of what FactCheck says, but I will quibble about the characterization of the Democrats as the party that can’t balance a budget: the budget hasn’t come even close to being balanced in eons; the last time a Democrat was in office, during the Clinton years, the United States had a budget surplus. Can’t say that about Republicans in recent memory. In fact, no matter what they’ve said or promised, Republicans since Ronald Reagan have been fond of deficit spending.

National Debt as % of GDP

And the tax thing just chapped my hide. As if the Republicans never thought of increasing taxes. Check this out: an excerpt from The 1960 Presidential campaign, 2nd joint radio broadcast between the two candidates:

MR. NIXON. Well I think we should be under no illusions whatever about what the responsibilities of the American people will be in the sixties. Our expenditures for defense, our expenditures for mutual security, our expenditures for economic assistance and technical assistance are not going to get less. In my opinion, they’re going to be be greater. I think it may be necessary that we have more taxes. I hope not. I hope we can economize elsewhere so that we don’t have to. But I would have no hesitation to ask the American people to pay the taxes even in l961, if necessary, to maintain a sound economy and also to maintain a sound dollar. Because when you do not tax and tax enough to pay for your outgo, you pay it many times over in higher prices in inflation and I simply will not do that.

Nixon also said:

We’re the best fed; we’re the best clothed, with a better distribution of this world’s goods to all of our people than any people in history.

Now, in pointing out the things that are wrong, I think we ought to emphasize America’s strengths. It isn’t necessary to run America down in order to build it up.

Stop the presses: Nixon is talking about raising taxes.

Here’s Kennedy’s reply:

MR. KENNEDY. Well, Mr. Nixon, I’ll just give you the testimony of Mr. George Aiken, Senator George Aiken, the ranking minority member–Republican member, and former chairman of the Senate Agricultural Committee, testifying in 1959 said there were 26 million Americans who did not have the income to afford a decent diet. Mr. Benson, testifying on the food stamp plan in 1957, said there were 25 million Americans who could not afford a elementary low-cost diet, and he defined that as someone who uses beans in place of meat.

Now, I’ve seen a good many hundreds of thousands of people who are not adequately fed. You can’t tell me that a surplus food distribution of five cents per person, and that nearly 6 million Americans receiving that, is adequate. You can’t tell me that any one who uses beans instead of meat in the United States, and there are 25 million of them according to Mr. Benson, is well fed or adequately fed. I believe that we should not compare what our figures may be to India or some other country that has serious problems, but to remember that we are the most prosperous country in the world and that these people are not getting adequate food, and they’re not getting in many cases adequate shelter, and we ought to try to meet the problem.

Secondly, Mr. Nixon has continued to state, and he stated it last week, these fantastic figures of what the Democratic budget–platform would cost. They’re wholly inaccurate. I said last week I believed in a balanced budget. And unless there was a severe recession and after all the worst unbalanced budget in history was in 1958, $12 billion dollars larger than in any administration in the history of the United States. So that I believe that on this subject we can balance the budget unless we have a national emergency or unless we have a severe recession.

Darn J.F. Kennedy and his wanting a balanced budget.

Another Democrat who balanced the budget? Surprisingly, Lyndon Baines Johnson. Apparently you can have a Great Society and a strong economy at the same time.

* During his presidency, Nixon didn’t care about balancing the budget. He just happened to have a surplus. Not the same thing as actual balancing. (Stein, Herbert. Presidential economics: The making of economic policy from Roosevelt to Clinton American Enterprise Institute, 1994. p. 169)

September 5, 2008 Posted by | 2008 presidential race, Economy, politics | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


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