While the Sunday shows were, true to form, heavier on the politics of the bailout than substance, it was actually one of the better days for the Watchdog.
On ABC’s This Week, Sen. John McCain was asked about the need for additional economic stimulus — albeit not as part of the bailout package.
Host George Stephanopoulos brought up Sen. Barack Obama’s statement that a “stimulus plan for the middle-class, which extends unemployment benefits, adds infrastructure funding and sends money to the states to shore up their budgets” should follow passage of the bailout. Asked if he supported it, McCain said:
I am for keeping taxes low. I am for whatever steps we think we need to be taking right now. But first, let’s get this [bailout package] off the table.
After being asked a second time, McCain said:
I’ll have to look at it. But look, I’ll be glad to look at anything to help our economy. We did a stimulus package a few months ago as you well know. It had very little beneficial effect. I would like to see incentives for businesses to grow and locate. That’s lower taxes. That’s ways of making credit and funds available for them. Of course, we have to rebuild our infrastructure. I’d like to see along with that stimulus package, if it comes up, a commitment that there’ll be no earmarks.
Is he for stimulus or against? You be the judge!
I should note that the prior stimulus package was NBC’s Meet The Press, the question of additional regulation on the financial industry received at least cursory attention during a debate between the two major party candidates in Colorado for U.S. Senate.
Host Tom Brokaw raised it with former Rep. Bob Schaffer (R):
BROKAW: Congressman, Chris Cox, who is the chairman of the SEC, said it’s not the dead hand of government.
BROKAW: In effect, he said it’s the blind eye of government and he now apologizes for regulations as they were deregulated not working, he said that we went voluntarily and Wall Street just didn’t respond to that. That put us in the jam that we’re in now and all of that grew out of a Republican culture beginning with Ronald Reagan.
BROKAW: So isn’t it time to re-institute closer regulation of Wall Street and these financial institutions, especially in an era of warp speed and electronic trading, which is very hard to keep track of?
SCHAFFER: In some, in some areas, perhaps, with respect to transparency, with respect to certain areas of accountability, of course. But not in a way that slows or constrains the ability of the, the economy to grow. You know, the–you can trace back, however, the–to 2005, with the legislation that was considered in 2005 and again in 2007 with respect to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, where there were attempts, actually led by Republicans in the Congress, to put more controls and to put more restraints on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
The blame Fannie/Freddie strategy, which as I noted last week, is the conservative blame-shift maneuver of choice.