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EDITOR OF REDSTATE

A conversation with Douglas Holtz-Eakin

Last week I sat down with Doug Holtz-Eakin, John McCain’s top economics advisor and talked about the state of the campaign, McCain’s plan for homeowners, etc. We’ve been so busy on the front page, I wanted to hold back on posting this until there was some time so it wouldn’t get buried.

So, in bullet point form, as we went through a number of topics, here’s what Doug has to say:

  • On the economy, John McCain understands the need to live within the nation’s and individuals’ means. “He is the only guy promising to balance the budget by controlling spending,” Doug pointed out, contrasted with Obama who wants to raise taxes.

  • Somewhat out of order from the way the conversation happened, I asked Doug about Obama’s tax cut and his claim to cut taxes for 95% of working families. He agreed with me that Obama is just trying to undo the 1996 welfare reform law through a backdoor. “How can you give a tax cut to people who don’t pay taxes?” he asked rhetorically. He pointed out that Obama would make a lot of his proposals refundable tax credits, i.e. paying them to everyone, even those who don’t pay taxes. That’d get us back to welfare, but increase the welfare rolls.

  • On the homeowner mortgage plan that Senator McCain talked about in the second debate, Doug said the $300 billion price tax is “a heroic estimate.” He admits they aren’t sure of the number, but suspect it might be less than that. He emphasized that the government has a role to play in stopping the decline of property values, which is what the plan would do. in effect, it’d be a re-finance for homeowners, with a credit check and an appraisal. This will no be a plan to stop foreclosing properties.

  • Doug was surprisingly blunt on the current economic situation. “Unless we can either get the thing turned around or give people hope that the economy will turn around, we are in a really horrific political environment.” He’s got that right. Again, Doug emphasized, McCain wants to tackle spending as an issue. He doest not want to raise taxes during an economic downturn, something Obama is willing to do.

  • Lastly, we talked about ACORN. Doug thinks ACORN needs to be prosecuted. He said he is troubled by all the stories about ACORN engaging in voter fraud. Likewise, we’ve all noticed Obama paying an ACORN front group $800,000.00 to do voter registration. It’s troubling.

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