“Economics” At the Reagan Library

The transcript of last night’s GOP debate can be found here. There were some real whoppers last night. To be fair and balanced, I’ll choose one each from McCain and from Romney. McCain was asked how to avoid a recession:

We’ve got to give them some stimulus. We’ve got to give them some tax relief. We’ve got to stop this outrageous squandering spending that causes us to have to borrow money from China, and we’ve got to get our fiscal house in order. I think we went on a spending spree that, frankly, betrayed Ronald Reagan’s principles about tax cuts and restraint of spending.

Cutting government spending is stimulus? Has anyone reminded him of the Balanced Budget Multiplier? McCain early said he voted to make the Bush tax cuts permanent on two occasions. Could someone remind him that he originally voted against those tax cuts? I guess Bill Bennett won’t be the one as he told the CNN team right after the Florida vote that McCain has had a consistent position on taxes. But the real whopper is the premise that we had spending restraint during the 1980’s.

Romney had suggested earlier yesterday that McCain wanted to impose a tax on gasoline that no one else in the world had to pay – charge he basically repeated during the debate:

But when you put in place a new cap or a mandate, and particularly if you don’t have any safety valve as to how much the cost of that cap might be, you would impose on the American people, if you do it unilaterally, without involving all the world, you’d impose on the American people a huge new effective tax: 20 percent on utilities, 50 cents a gallon for gasoline – that’s according to the energy information agency – would be imposed on us. And here’s what happens. I’ve lived in the business world. I’ve lived in the real economy for 25 years of my life. What happens if you do that? You put a big burden on energy in this country as the energy-intensive industries say, “We’re going to move our new facilities from America to China, where they don’t have those agreements.”

I’m no expert on Chinese energy policy but I’m sure Europeans would laugh at the premise that they pay less in gasoline taxes they we would under what McCain and others propose to do. I guess Romney failed to join Greg Mankiw in that Pigou Club.

Update: One of the sad things that has happened to the comment section of this blog is that it has become infested with trolls who deem to think they have the right to call some of us liars. Case in point is someone who thinks all that Mitt Romney said on gasoline taxes yesterday can be found in the transcript of the debate. I invited this pest to check out the morning CNN transcripts but I guess he is too lazy to do so. So here is what Romney said to John Roberts yesterday morning:

And then McCain-Kennedy, the final version in which was a massive amnesty program for illegals and then McCain-Lieberman which places a huge gasoline burden, 50 cents a gallon on American auto buyers compared to people who use cars around the world.

Around the world includes more than China so I wonder what lame excuse this troll will come up with next. The more intelligent and honest AB readers have asked me why I don’t just ban trolls like these. Well, I am not the administrator of this blog so I guess I have to just endure his serial insults – as dishonest as they may be.