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18-07-11 Would America Have Been Better Off With President McCain

18-07-11 Would America Have Been Better Off With President McCain

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Published by William J Greenberg
As we think ahead toward 2012, ponder this: Consider the possibility that we would be better off if John McCain had won in 2008. Heresy? Yes, but think about a few important points.
As we think ahead toward 2012, ponder this: Consider the possibility that we would be better off if John McCain had won in 2008. Heresy? Yes, but think about a few important points.

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Published by: William J Greenberg on Aug 06, 2011
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Would America have been better off with President McCain? by Guy SapersteinAs we think ahead toward 2012, ponder this: Consider the possibilitythat we would be better off if John McCain had won in 2008. Heresy?Yes, but think about a few important points.Although TARP was passed during Bush’s Presidency, it really was the beginning of Obama’s term, as it could not have passed withoutObama’s strong public support and, indeed, as many books, such asJoseph Stiglitz’ Firefall, have outlined, he was intimately involved in thedecisions which led to TARP, particularly the decision to pay WallStreet 100 cents on the dollar for toxic assets at a time when the privatemarket was paying 20 cents, and decisions not to put strings andconditions on the money, such as requiring that 80% of the TARPmoney be lent out, not used for mergers and acquisitions, which havenow enabled even greater concentration in the banking industry, thus putting the economy at even greater risk in the future. Could McCainhave done any worse? If TARP had been viewed as a Republican planall along, wouldn’t the Democrats have been more vigilant in monitoringthe giveaways to Wall Street? And, if McCain had been President, therewould be no Tea Party today because they would not have arisen inopposition to Republican economic policies.Healthcare: Obama passed a Republican healthcare plan, one thatoriginated with the Heritage Foundation, and which had the effect of 
 
strengthening private insurance companies by adding 30 million newcustomers for them, without any meaningful cost controls. After runningin the primaries against an individual mandate, as President, Obama promoted an individual mandate with no cost controls. It was aninsurance industry wet dream, which is why they backed it with a $150million ad campaign. Yes, it added coverage for millions, but it was a phony reform that will prevent real reform for a generation, or more.Even worse, it will lead to the collapse of the system because the costs– which already are approximately DOUBLE per capita any other healthcare system in the world–are unsustainable. Had McCain beenPresident, no healthcare bill would have been passed, but real reformwould have remained on the table for a real Democratic Presidentcommitted to Democratic Party values who would be willing to createMedicare for All, not shrink Medicare, as Obama did in the AffordableHealthcare Act by taking $500 billion out of it in alleged “savings,” andnow by proposing to raise the age of eligibility and/or means-testing.With a Republican President, Democrats would have been more vigilantabout protecting Democratic programs. A Democratic Congress wouldnot have let a Republican President damage Medicare.Afghanistan: After the expensive fiasco in Iraq, would a RepublicanPresident have been able to shift from counter-terrorism to counter-insurgency and escalate the war in Afghanistan? Maybe, but only over loud objections and close oversight by Congressional Democrats and the public. With Obama, Democratic opposition was muted and the war continues at an increased pace, while Obama privately tries to pressurethe Iraqis to keep American troops there, at huge cost to Americantaxpayers.One of the major structural impediments to progressive change inAmerica is the $1+ trillion we spend each year on defense, most of it
 
spent counter-productively. McCain might have succeeded in escalatingthe war in Afghanistan for a short while, but by now opposition inCongress and the country would have become irresistible. Moreimportantly, at a time of calls for austerity and declining expectations,the public is less willing to continue to tolerate the expensive adventuresof our military. With McCain at the helm arguing blindly for giving themilitary everything it wanted, the raw stupidity of the war inAfghanistan the stupidity of spending and trillions on defense wouldhave become apparent to nearly everyone and real changes in defensespending would become possible.By contrast, with Obama, people gave him a pass on Afghanistan because he had opposed the Iraq war, opposition to the developingfiasco has been muted and there have been no real calls for reductions indefense spending, despite the possibility of reductions everywhere elsein the federal budget. Worse, Obama has flat-out lied about defensespending cutbacks, exaggerating $8 billion in projected cuts to future programs into $400 billion in cuts–a 50-1 ratio of deception that wouldchallenge even Bush/Cheney.What Obama represents is bipartisan support for unconditional defensespending. With McCain as President, if we were talking today aboutdeficit reduction at all, we would be talking seriously about includingdefense-spending cuts and when we elected a new Democratic Presidentin 2016, there would be a far greater chance that we would legislate anew approach to security and a much-reduced defense budget.Bush Tax Cuts: There is no possible way McCain would have been ableto continue the Bush tax cuts for the rich. That would have been thedefining issue between Dems and Reps, the Dems would have beenunited in opposition, and tax cuts for the rich would not have passed.The idea of fairness and progressive taxation would have been

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