Sen. John McCain wins friends with his self-deprecating sense of humor, but self-deprecation poses risks as well. Early in the campaign, McCain noted that he doesn't know much about economics, a bit of modesty the Democrats seem intent to brand on his forehead.

Sen. John McCain wins friends with his self-deprecating sense of humor, but self-deprecation poses risks as well. Early in the campaign, McCain noted that he doesn't know much about economics, a bit of modesty the Democrats seem intent to brand on his forehead.


McCain, former chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, knows a lot about economics, and even more about how the government works. That's why this paragraph in the economic program he relaunched is so mystifying. In a section promising to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term, the McCain blueprint says:


"The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. Since all their costs were financed with deficit spending, all their savings must go to deficit reduction."


As several bloggers have already pointed out, the second sentence makes no sense, excerpt to point out the absurdity of this plank in McCain's platform.


McCain knows the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been paid for with borrowed money. The Democrats know this as well, which is why they should stop pretending that, were it not for the wars, the government would have billions to spend on other programs. We're not spending money we have, so there's no savings to be had by stopping.


McCain's deficit-reduction promise is the equivalent of promising to stop borrowing money on your credit card - and using the "savings" to pay off your credit card balance. That may be an uncomfortable analogy, given the report last month that John and Cindy McCain have racked up as much as $750,000 on their credit cards in a single month - and are paying as much as 26 percent interest on their credit card debt.


Maybe McCain doesn't know much about economics after all.