McCain’s Claim of Balancing the Budget – Don’t Lie to Mom

John McCain’s economic plan promises to balance the Federal budget by 2013. Mark Thoma has a post that links to several reactions to this ludicrous claim. Credit to Jared Bernstein for most succinct title:

They’re Lying

But leave to mom, that is EconomistMom, for a very in-depth early review.

Even with the lack of specificity, it’s all too obvious that the plan offers far more ways of adding to the deficit than of trimming the deficit, in virtually every section of the report–including, most annoyingly, the fiscal responsibility section on pages 4-5.

She then proceeds to walk you through some of the specifics. But it was this line under Bi-partisan Fiscal Discipline that would have led any mom to conclude that John McCain was lying at every turn:

In 1997, President Clinton and the GOP Congress agreed to balance the budget by restraining the growth in spending and cutting taxes over a ten-year period.

EconomistMom fires back:

the Clinton Administration did not achieve fiscal discipline by restraining spending and “cutting taxes.” The Clinton Administration made the tough choices (and earlier than 1997) to restrain spending and raise taxes in order to achieve meaningful deficit reduction through both the spending and revenues side of the budget.

The rightwing hacks that McCain now panders to predicted back in 1993 that the Clinton tax increase would lead to a recession. I guess now that we know that economic growth was strong during the Clinton years, these same hacks want us to believe that Clinton’s term was one of tax cuts. But this is so patently false – it is hard for me to believe that McCain put this into his economic plan. Then again – this “plan” is so full of dishonesty that its National Review style of flat out lying to its readers should not surprise me.

Update: The National Review thinks balancing the budget is easy especially if we pass even more tax cuts:

The sophisticates in the press will of course scoff that it is impossible to cut taxes while balancing the budget. But let’s not overestimate the difficulty of getting rid of the deficit.

This is an oped that calls for tax cuts for the middle class as well. This is beyond stupid. Do the editors at the National Review have to take their shoes off just to count to four?