John Goodman is a conservative economist who thinks all the fuss over people without health insurance is just hooey. As Goodman explained to a reporter from The Dallas Morning News last week, everybody can get medical care from an emergency room, so why not just stop tallying the uninsured altogether? "Voil à," Goodman quipped. "Problem solved." Like many far-right policy experts, Goodman had said such things before. But, unlike many far-right policy experts, Goodman isn't just some random wonk. As the Morning News noted, Goodman had helped craft McCain's health care plan.
As you may have heard, John McCain just announced he's suspending his campaign--and asking to postpone Friday's debate--so that he can return to Washington and help negotiate a solution to the nation's financial crisis. He also says he's asked Barack Obama to join him. While I am willing believe that McCain's interest in bipartisan reform is sincere, it's hard not to see at least some gamesmanship at work here. The McCain campaign has been reeling for the last few days and it's fast becoming apparent voters simply don't trust him on the economy as much as they trust Obama.
Yesterday on CNN, anchor Campbell Brown went into a self-described rant against the McCain campaign. The occasion was yesterday's now-infamous attempt to bar producers and reporters from accompanying news cameras as Palin met with some world leaders at the United Nations. The attempt, as my colleague Michelle Cottle notes below, was largely successful. But it also inspired a backlash, ranging from snarky wire story leads to Brown's on-air condemnation.
Earlier today, an economist I know pointed out this passage in Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's proposal: The Secretary’s authority to purchase mortgage-related assets under this Act shall be limited to $700,000,000,000 outstanding at any one time. Note those words in bold. A fair reading of that passage, the economist suggested, is that the magical $700 billion figure we keep hearing is a limit not on total federal outlays, but only on the outlays at one time.
Factcheck.org has decided Barack Obama’s new argument about John McCain’s health care plan is misleading. National Review’s Ramesh Ponnuru agrees. And, since I made a similar argument about McCain's health plan here on Sunday, Ramesh criticizes me, too. I respect both Factcheck and Ramesh, who is one of my favorite conservative writers.
John McCain’s campaign is crying foul this weekend, over an alleged misrepresentation of their man’s position on health care.
Over at the Stump, Noam has lots of praise for Barack Obama's new ad on Social Security. And Noam is absolutely right. Social Security is "the loose string that unravels McCain's whole sweater," since it "connects the financial market crisis to people's personal bottom line in a way that's downright alarming." But its value goes even beyond that. A successful advertisement makes an effective argument for the election. A really successful advertisement does something else, as well: It helps advance a governing agenda.
So, as Joe Klein and then I were saying, the McCain campaign has been lashing out at Joe Biden for suggesting it's the patriotic duty of wealthy Americans to pay higher taxes at this time of domestic and foreign crisis. Here's what Sarah Palin had to say about it today, while appearing in Iowa: To them, raising taxes--and Joe Biden said it again today--raising taxes is about patriotism.
Joe Klein beat me to it and said pretty much everything that needs to be said: When Joe Biden claimed wealthy Americans have a patriotic duty to pay more in taxes, he was absolutely right. This is a time of crisis, domestic and foreign. The public has needs, from a vigilant national defense to access to basic medical care, that only the government can meet. And the government is running out of money, primarily because it's been starved of resources.
And now, for something new, John McCain is attacking Barack Obama over his big-spending ways: The text of this new advertisement, for those who don't want to sit through the cilp, goes like this: When our economy's in crisis, a big government casts a big shadow on us all. Obama and his liberal Congressional allies want a massive government, billions in spending increases, wasteful pork. And, we would pay--painful income taxes, skyrocketing taxes on life savings, electricity and home heating oil. Can your family afford that? I have no idea whether this is an actual television advertisement