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Message Jayne Stahl

On a 30 second clip, on CNN, last night, John McCain managed to fit in an endorsement from another first lady, Nancy Reagan, and hint at his economic plan which he promises to disclose early next month.

Any question about how he plans to win over the Independent, Conservative, and Libertarian vote should have been quickly dispelled by merely listening to him insist that it is not the role of the government to "bail out" banks, lending institutions, or homeowners who got in over their heads, a position which must be music to the ears of anyone, like Grover Norquist, who wants to shrink government to the size where it will fit in the average toilet.

McCain delivered these remarks in Orange County, not far from the Reagan Library, of course, a staunch Republican stronghold for generations and, in many respects, one might say he was channeling the former president's economic theories.  Oh, and lest we forget, Orange County is another Republican president's stomping grounds---Richard Nixon.

But, without a doubt, the Kodak moment came when the senator from Arizona, asked about what he thinks of Hillary Clinton's proposal to create a $30 billion housing crisis fund to help local governments save homeowners from foreclosure, looked squarely at the camera, and inquired "where" the $30 billion is going to come from.   Where, indeed, surely not from the huge corporate tax cuts with which he plans to "turn around" the economy; surely not from the egregious, and inevitable, reductions to social programs which will result from what may come to be known simply as McCainomics--roughly translated, as reported by the Center for American Progress, the transference of "tax burden from investment income onto earned income."   
His underlying hypothesis, also strongly reminiscent of Ronald Reagan, that tax relief to big corporations will trickle down to the lower, and middle classes, exposes John McCain for what he really is when it comes to economic theory---Senator Flip Flop.  And, what's more, why would trickle down work any more now than it did twenty years ago?   
As you recall, it was McCain, right around 9/11, who criticized Bush's tax cuts by acknowledging that they help the most affluent Americans at the expense of the poorest.  Well, watch Johnny shift gears.   Clearly, the senator now realizes that, in order to get that much-needed conservative vote, he'd better promise to keep the capital squarely where it belongs in the hands of the oil companies, military contractors, and chief executives of America's fortune 500 companies; yes, squarely in the hands of the upper one percentile of the population.   For, as he rightly suggests, wealth is a relative concept---especially for those with money.  Oh, but hunger isn't, just ask anyone whose ever had to choose between filling their refrigerator or filling their gas tank.
Ironic, isn't it, how a guy whose entire claim to fame is his expertise with respect to national security could ask where the money to bolster the financial infrastructure of this country would come from.  How could he not know that the estimated monetary cost of the war in Iraq is now said to be $3 trillion, or approximately $12 billion a month.  Or, is he in denial about the cost of the war, too, like the Pentagon?   And, what is it called when a survival of the fittest ethos is used as a justification for an economic program that dates back to the days when the lords openly ruled the manors?
While he's at it, maybe the good senator can also explain why he thinks that the government bail out Bear Stearns, and not the consumer?     And, may we expect to always see the senator read from his teleprompter cliff notes whenever the subject of the economy comes up at press conferences?

The larger question, of course, is, should John McCain become our 44th president, and commander-in-chief of the military, how will he be able to sleep nights knowing he signed off on trillions more for defense spending while, at the same time, allowing for indigent veterans, who suffer from nearly as many suicides as war fatalites, substandard medical care, and many others who are homeless altogether.

Save us from so-called compassionate conservatives, and others whose sink or swim mentality have gotten us where we are today to the brink of environmental, socioeconomic, and nuclear disaster.




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Widely published, poet, playwright, essayist, and screenwriter; member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA. Jayne Lyn Stahl is a Huffington Post blogger.
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