McCain’s Plans Would Most Greatly Increase Deficit

Yesterday I noted an editorial from The Washington Post which showed that, while none of the three remaining candidates are particularly fiscally responsible, John McCain was the worst. The New York Times looks at the same issue today and reports the same result:

Mr. McCain’s plan would appear to result in the biggest jump in the deficit, independent analyses based on Congressional Budget Office figures suggest. A calculation done by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center in Washington found that his tax and budget plans, if enacted as proposed, would add at least $5.7 trillion to the national debt over the next decade.

Fiscal monitors say it is harder to compute the effect of the Democratic candidates’ measures because they are more intricate. They estimate that, even taking into account that there are some differences between the proposals by Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama, the impact of either on the deficit would be less than one-third that of the McCain plan.

The centerpiece of Mr. McCain’s economic plan is a series of tax cuts that would largely benefit corporations and the wealthy. He is calling for cutting corporate taxes by $100 billion a year. Eliminating the alternative minimum tax, which was created to apply to wealthy taxpayers but now also affects some in the middle class, would reduce revenues by $60 billion annually. He also would double the exemption that can be claimed for dependents, which would cost the government $65 billion.

“High tax rates are driving many businesses and jobs overseas — and, of course, our foreign competitors wouldn’t mind if we kept it that way,” Mr. McCain said, laying out his economic plan this month in Pittsburgh. “We’re going to get rid of that drag on growth and job creation.”

On the expenditure side, Mr. McCain has called not only for continuing an open-ended deployment of troops in Iraq, but also for spending $15 billion annually to expand the Army and the Marine Corps and to improve health care for veterans, among other programs.

The Hypocrisy of the Clinton Campaign

Mark Nicholas has demonstrated the hypocrisy of the Clinton campaign in a couple of recent posts. Yesterday he showed how Terry McAuliffe took the opposite position he now takes with regards to Michigan and Florida. In 2004 Michigan Senator Carl Levin threatened to do what Michigan did this year in moving up the primary. An excerpt from McAuliffe’s book, What A Party! (page 235), shows where he stood in 2004:

“I’m going outside the primary window,” [Michigan Sen. Carl Levin] told me definitively.

“If I allow you to do that, the whole system collapses,” I said. “We will have chaos. I let you make your case to the DNC, and we voted unanimously and you lost.”

He kept insisting that they were going to move up Michigan on their own, even though if they did that, they would lose half their delegates. By that point Carl and I were leaning toward each other over a table in the middle of the room, shouting and dropping the occasional expletive.

“You won’t deny us seats at the convention,” he said.

“Carl, take it to the bank,” I said. “They will not get a credential. The closest they’ll get to Boston will be watching it on television. I will not let you break this entire nominating process for one state. The rules are the rules. If you want to call my bluff, Carl, you go ahead and do it.”

We glared at each other some more, but there was nothing much left to say. I was holding all the cards and Levin knew it.

A few days ago Nicholas presented several quotes from the Clinton campaign on how the race was one for delegates. This was before they decided that 1) the race is over the popular vote but 2) Clinton will not drop out if Obama remains ahead in the popular vote.

Government Has No Business in Prayer–Especially When Not Inclusive

Morbo, who frequently writes on matters of church and state at The Carpetbagger Report on Saturdays, describes how the National Day of Prayer has been hijacked by the religious right:

The National Day of Prayer is Thursday, May 1. I oppose it. I believe religious leaders should call people to prayer, not government officials. I believe religious services should take place in houses of worship, not government buildings.

Alas, the federal courts do not agree with me. Thus, we have a National Day of Prayer. Of course it has been taken over by obnoxious fundamentalist Christians who sponsor exclusionary programs that promote their narrow brand of Christianity.

If we have to have a day like this, it ought to be interfaith. But the National Day of Prayer Task Force, a private group run by Religious Right honcho James Dobson’s wife, Shirley, tells its volunteers not to let anyone near the microphone who has not signed off on a fundamentalist statement of faith.

Jews on First have set up a web site calling for an Inclusive Prayer Day:

The National Day of Prayer falls on May 1st this year, and in most parts of the country, there is a religious “litmus test” limiting participation to fundamentalist Christian evangelicals. Focus on the Family, the largest organization on the Christian Right, and groups allied with it control the occasion, calling themselves the National Day of Prayer Task Force and asserting that their website is the “National Day of Prayer Official Website.”

The National Day of Prayer has been hijacked! What began in 1952 as President Truman’s declaration of a National Prayer Day for all Americans is now excluding and dividing us on religious lines. The “Task Force” excludes Jews, Muslims, Catholics and even mainline Christians from participation in the events it coordinates around the country. Many of those events are staged in government venues with elected officials, in a deliberate affront to the separation of church and state.

Our Inclusive National Prayer Day project aims to work with activists in as many states as possible to lobby governors to refrain from proclaiming or endorsing the National Day of Prayer in ways that enhance the Task Force’s exclusive control of the day and its efforts to create the appearance of government-sponsored religious ceremonies…

We have compiled talking points and documentation about the National Day of Prayer Task Force. Please click here.

Morbo concludes his post by quoting from Thomas Jefferson:

In a letter to the Rev. Samuel Miller dated Jan. 23, 1808, Jefferson explained his views: “I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines; nor of the religious societies that the general government should be invested with the power of affecting any uniformity of time or matter among them. Fasting & prayer are religious exercises. The enjoining them an act of discipline. Every religious society has a right to determine for itself the times for these exercises, & the objects proper for them, according to their own particular tenets; and this right can never be safer than in their own hands, where the constitution has deposited it.”

The Clinton Blood Bath

Early in the race Hillary Clinton had a huge lead in superdelegates as many party insiders backed her early. The word was that people were being told that either they backed Clinton or they would be on the outside once Clinton won (which at the time was considered inevitable by many). Many gave in to this, knowing that the Clintons have a long memory and hold a grudge. This became apparent with the reaction to Bill Richardson’s endorsement of Barack Obama. Eleanor Clift considers the blood bath which will occur if Hillary Clinton does manage to pull out the nomination:

I’m beginning to think Hillary Clinton might pull this off and wrestle the nomination away from Barack Obama. If she does, a lot of folks—including a huge chunk of the media—will join Bill Richardson (a.k.a. Judas) in the Deep Freeze. If the Clintons get back into the White House, it will be retribution time, like the Corleone family consolidating power in “The Godfather,” where the watchword is, “It’s business, not personal.”

Not that anyone will be sleeping with the fishes with Hillary in the White House, but with the Clintons it’s business and it’s personal. Just think of all the scores to settle, the grievances to indulge. Bill Clinton provided a preview this week, blaming the Obama campaign for playing the race card against him. Tricky maneuver, but perhaps the only way the former president can come to grips with his loss of standing in the African-American community, once his strongest constituency. (South Carolina Rep. James Clyburn, an undeclared superdelegate who is African-American, told the New York Times this week that the black community had supported Clinton during his impeachment and that “I think black folks feel strongly that this is a strange way [for him] to show his appreciation.”)

There are a number of prominent Democrats who will be on the Clinton hate list, and they are making this clear in the hopes of dissuading other Democrats from backing Obama.

Notables who abandoned her for Obama will get the Big Chill. “He’s dead to us,” a Clinton aide was quoted saying of John Kerry, who along with Ted Kennedy was turned off by the perception of race baiting that led up to the South Carolina primary.

Matthew Yglesias notes that Clinton cannot afford to freeze out all the Democrats who are not backing her:

…current Obama endorsers include, among others, the Senators who chair the committees on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (Kennedy), Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (Dodd), Judiciary (Leahy), and Budget (Conrad). Unless Clinton is uncommonly stupid, she’s not really going to try to govern the country while freezing those guys not. Nor would it make any sense to make a big push for health care reform while simultaneously freezing out the Obama-backers in SEIU.

Yglesias believes they are making an example of Kerry as he is “noteworthy enough for his endorsement to matter” but he does not hold an important committee chair. It could still be a mistake to have John Kerry loose in the Senate as one’s enemy. He’s just the type of honorable guy who would push the Senate to hold the Clintons accountable regardless of party. I’m also not so sure that we can assume that the Clintons won’t follow the path which Clift predicts even if not politically wise. They have made it clear this year that their personal egos and desire for power outweigh all other considerations.