McCain’s World

McCAIN’S WORLD….John McCain says he’ll reduce federal spending $160 billion if he’s elected president. But where’s it going to come from?

Asked Sunday where he would find spending cuts, Sen. McCain mentioned ethanol subsidies, sugar-price supports and payments to wealthy farmers. “We’re going to scrub every institution of government,” he said on ABC’s “This Week.” “Is there any American that doesn’t believe that there’s tens if not hundreds of billions of dollars that can be saved?”

I’d guess McCain is right: pretty much every American does think there are veritable tanker cars of money to be saved by eliminating all the programs that only benefit other people. Like, say, ethanol subsidies, sugar-price supports and payments to wealthy farmers — all of which don’t benefit me and therefore seem like dandy places to cut the budget.

But all jesting aside, the audacity of McCain’s economic plan is really pretty stunning. I’m well used to sums not adding up in presidential campaigns, and for the most part I’m willing to shrug and consider it part of the grand American political tradition, like eating fried pork rinds at the Iowa state fair or promising to get tough on China. But McCain has really upped the ante. His tax plan is such a blatant pander to corporations and the wealthy that it takes even a cynic’s breath away, and his insistence that he’ll slash spending by gargantuan amounts while simultaneously refusing to say what he’ll cut is unparallelled in recent memory. Everyone does this kind of stuff to some extent, but McCain seems to have learned from the Bush presidency that on the economic front you can basically say anything you want and nobody will call you to account for it. So why not shoot for the moon?

Besides, right now everyone is caught up with waffles and 3 am phone calls. Who cares about a bunch of nerdy facts and figures? I’m sure that McCain, straight talker that he is, will fill in the details soon.