Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Mac Is Moving to the Supply-Side

Sen. John McCain gave two economics speeches in the last 48 hours. They were very strong, pro-growth, and pro-energy production. McCain also is finally slamming Obama on taxes and energy. Yesterday in Denver, the senator said, “If you believe you should pay more taxes, I am the wrong candidate for you. Sen. Obama is your man. The choice in this election is stark and simple. Sen. Obama will raise your taxes. I won’t.”

This is good. Strong. I hope it’s the beginning of a Big Mac resurgence under the new management of Steve Schmidt, who is effectively running the campaign as of this past weekend.

McCain also slammed Obama on energy, essentially labeling him Doctor No. In the Denver speech McCain said, “My opponent’s answer is no to more drilling; no to more nuclear power; no to research prizes that help solve the problem of affordable electric cars. For a guy whose ‘official seal’ carried the motto, ‘Yes, We Can,’ Sen. Obama’s agenda sure has a whole lot of ‘No, We Can’t.’” This also is good.

Increasingly McCain is shifting his positions towards the supply-side: across-the-board tax cuts, keeping the Bush tax rates on investment, slashing the corporate tax rate, doubling the child deduction for family dependents, cutting pork-barrel spending, and producing more energy.

On the drill, drill, drill energy front, McCain argued in favor of producing more oil and gas, and he said this would send a message to the market that would result in lower prices. He argued for nuclear power, clean coal, and oil shale. And he noted for the first time that expanded energy production would be a strong job-creator. This is so important in terms of an economic fix.

And here are a couple things missing from McCain’s speech: There was no mention of “obscene profits”; no mention of cap-and-trade; and no mention of reckless traders. We will see if these ideas continue to be absent from the senator’s formal speeches. I hope so. Voters want more drilling and they do not want cap-and-trade, which is really tax-and-raise-gas-pump-prices and ultimately cap-and-kill-the-economy.

By the way, in his second economics speech today in Washington, D.C., Sen. McCain strongly defended free trade, saying it would create more and better jobs, increase wages, keep inflation under control, and make goods more affordable for low- and middle-income consumers.

He also supported more competition for schools and empowering parents with choice. I have not heard him argue for school choice before. He then argued for comprehensive immigration legislation that would include border security first, apprehending illegal felons who commit crimes, recognition of the important economic contributions of immigrants, and finally humanitarian treatment. I still believe the best way to stop illegal immigration is to promote more legal immigration — namely by raising the entry limits to meet U.S. job demands. But McCain is combining this with a tough border-security message, and I think that’s good.

In general, the senator is developing a good supply-side message for economic growth, with a big focus on tax cuts and new energy production. Obama is for tax hikes and opposed to energy production. These are important contrasts. Now it’s up to the Republican standard bearer to keep hammering these key points on the campaign trail. More energy. Lower taxes. A pro-growth economic recovery plan. Perhaps he will even add King Dollar to his repertoire. I might add that increasing the value of the dollar is part of McCain’s 15-page policy blueprint. Right now he is definitely on the right track.