Thursday, February 7, 2008

American Politics

I have just been watching U.S. senator John McCain speaking (now as the presumtive Republican nominee) to a conservative political action group in Washington. Since Romney had already announced that he was suspending his campaign the McCain talk took the tone of an election speech with the Senator attacking the two leading Democrats and attempting to establish his conservative credentials. Now McCain seems to be a straight forward plain speaking sort but there is one thing his talk still had in common with most political speeches.

Politicians of all sorts during election time want to tell the voters that they will both increase spending and cut taxes at the same time. This is all the more amazing considering the huge size of the american budget deficit at this time. To be sure McCain did not specifically talk about increasing spending although given his continuing support for the Iraq war it seems a given that he would at least increase spending for the military. Also, to give him credit he did say that he would try to control the increase in budgetary spending due to entitlement programs and to the special spending provisions attached to ordinary spending bills (commonly called "pork"). He did say though, that he would make permanent the Bush tax cuts and would have further tax cuts especially for business.

So, I suggest that this is again a case of "you can have your cake and eat it too". If the American government could operate on any other basis the population would have been told that there was a price to be paid for the Iraq war. There would have been new taxes to pay for the huge costs associated with the war and the draft might even have been re-instated in order to provide the troops needed for the war. Instead people were told that they might have to endure a restriction on their civil liberties as part of the "war on terror" and not much else. Of course in that case people might have turned against the war even sooner than they did. Anyway, I wish that politicians would be honest with voters.

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