When Sen. John McCain talks about wasteful government spending, he mentions a Woodstock museum in New York, a DNA study of bears in Montana and a bridge to nowhere in Alaska. Listen to him and you know that he is on a campaign to eliminate earmarks–pet projects inserted into spending bills by individual members of Congress.
But his economic plan released this week makes clear that he would make deep cuts to federal spending that go well beyond the earmarks that he rails against. The likelihood of these spending cuts coming to pass is slim, but McCain is counting on them in order to balance out a slate of tax cuts he proposed.
The bottom line: he wants to cut some $160 billion in discretionary spending out of a budget that totals a bit over $800 billion, said his chief economic adviser, Doug Holtz-Eakin. Only a tiny portion of that is earmarks. If McCain gets his way, the government would eliminate 20% of all discretionary spending. Discretionary spending includes everything but entitlements like Social Security and Medicare, which are automatically funded each year and not part of this calculation.
Last night, Chris Matthews (at Villanova) asked McCain if he’d put a Pennsylvania hero (Tom Ridge) (smattering of applause) on the ticket or if his abortion views would preclude that. McCain said he respected Ridge but it would be “difficult,” (huge applause). Matthews pressed as to why that one issue is such an issue and McCain said because he was committed to the rights of the unborn (huge applause again). He went on and emphasized the point about the rights of the unborn being an important one to him
I’m starting to get excited about him. Finally a decent plan to cut federal spending. Plus, no caving in on abortion. He’s closer and closer to getting my support to be non-reluctant.