Band-Aid Economics

Today’s Electoral Map (from FiveThirtyEight): Obama 307.1 EV ; McCain 230.9 EV

Today, President Bush lifted the ban on offshore oil drilling.

Problem is, offshore drilling, ANWR, all of these are just band-aid solutions.  The problem with the price of oil–and much of our economic woes–is oil itself.  America is addicted to oil, particularly foreign oil, and spending billions of dollars digging around to find our next fix won’t cut it.

What America needs is alternative sources of energy.  What America needs is to restore our rightful place as the world’s technological innovator.  The Republican disregard for science–particularly when it comes to alternative energy–is hurting the American people economically.  It’s time we kick our dead-end addiction to oil once and for all.  It’s time we get rid of high prices at the pump–and, for that matter, the pump itself.  With the billions that will be inevitably spent on offshore drilling, we could have invested in technologies that would make gas itself obsolete.

Then again, band-aids and pipe dreams have been the keystone of Republican politics for years now.  Fantasizing about goals that they can’t achieve in order to sell us short-sighted policies is par for the course with the GOP.  More drilling, no matter where it is, won’t change the fact that the oil market is inherently flawed, and that the price of oil will continue to rise as long as we’re consuming oil.

John McCain has already shown his Bushean tendency band-aids and pipe dreams in his economic plan, which makes promises that–even under the rosiest scenarios–are impossible to fulfill:

SEN. JOHN McCain says that President McCain would balance the federal budget by 2013. The plan is not credible.

The Congressional Budget Office projects a deficit of $443 billion in 2013 if President Bush’s tax cuts are extended, as Mr. McCain wants, and the alternative minimum tax is merely patched to make certain it does not hit growing numbers of taxpayers. But Mr. McCain is proposing far more tax cuts. The only way he avoids having them add hundreds of billions more to the deficit in 2013 is by phasing them in and adding other caveats. Mr. McCain says on the campaign trail that he would repeal, rather than merely adjust, the alternative minimum tax, slash the corporate tax rate, now 35 percent, to 25 percent, and double the exemption for dependents. It turns out that none of that would be fully implemented by the end of the first McCain term. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates the extra cost of the scaled-back plan at $47 billion in 2013, bringing the deficit to a daunting $490 billion. Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign claims it would be far higher, somewhere between $650 billion and $750 billion.

The McCain campaign says it will fill the hole with spending cuts. It would “reclaim billions” by rooting out existing earmarks and prohibiting new ones; impose a one-year freeze on discretionary spending other than for defense and veterans; and “reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations” to use toward deficit reduction. These claimed savings are illusory.

That’s John McCain, George Bush and the GOP for you–if you can’t make it happen, lie and say you can.  Make up savings, make up profits, make up economic benefits that you know will never, ever happen. Remember the start of the Iraq war? They told us we’d be there for six months and that Iraq’s oil revenue would make us money in the end, and none of that turned out to be true in the least.

Face it, the Republicans have lost all credibility.  Bush’s offshore oil drilling scam and McCain’s unworkable economic plan are proof of this.

It’s high time for us to put our faith in common-sense Democratic solutions instead of ineffective Republican band-aids, so that we can solve our (Republican-created) economic problems once and for all.

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