McCain’s 300 Economists May Sign Just Anything

So 300 economists signed a statement that included:

We enthusiastically support John McCain’s economic plan. It is a comprehensive, pro-growth, reform agenda. The reform focuses on the real economic problems Americans face today and will face in the future. And it builds on the core economic principles that have made America great.

I’ve read the plan as has EconomistMom who asks:

There’s now a list of economists who endorse the McCain economic plan up on the Jobs for America website–including at least a couple whom I greatly respect. I would love for any of them to explain to me how they believe this plan realistically, and wisely, would eliminate the budget deficit in four years, and how any of them who might be less than thrilled with the Bush Administration’s record on fiscal policy can read between the lines (and fluff) of this McCain plan and see anything substantially different.

McCain is proposing the standard GOP line that we can cut taxes a lot but not really reduce government spending. When tried in the 1980’s and with the current Administration, we got the predictable result of lower national savings, which leads to less long-term growth. Anyone who calls this pro-growth either does not understand economics or has not read the McCain plan very carefully.

Alexander Burns and Avi Zenilman suggest the latter may be the preferred excuse:

Upon closer inspection, it seems a good many of those economists don’t actually support the whole of McCain’s economic agenda. And at least one doesn’t even support McCain for president. In interviews with more than a dozen of the signatories, Politico found that, far from embracing McCain’s economic plan, many were unfamiliar with — or downright opposed to — key details. While most of those contacted by Politico had warm feelings about McCain, many did not want to associate themselves too closely with his campaign and its policy prescriptions … The McCain campaign’s economic team, led by adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, began collecting signatures from economists several months ago, with the intention of showing support for McCain’s broad economic priorities, rather than the specific items in his Jobs for America proposal.

Being asked to sign onto an economic plan before one has even had the chance to read it? Pardon me – but I would never sign something under those conditions.