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Into the Wayback Machine...

During Friday’s presidential debate, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) argued...

Right now, the United States of American business (OOTC:ARBU) pays the second-highest business taxes in the world, 35 percent. Ireland pays 11 percent. Now, if you’re a business person, and you can locate any place in the world, then, obviously, if you go to the country where it’s 11 percent tax versus 35 percent, you’re going to be able to create jobs, increase your business, make more investment, et cetera. I want to cut that business tax. I want to cut it so that businesses will remain in — in the United States of America and create jobs.

Fast-forward to today:

Despite Ireland's insistence that it doesn't need any rescue, investors say the country needs support, given the fragility of its moribund banking system...

Irish banks, on tax-payer support after a decade of over-lending in risky real estate projects, could be the receivers of any EU support...


We already kind of knew that McCain was a terrible businessman who had married into his wife's family beer distributorship.  We knew he was a terrible pilot.  We knew he was intimately connected with the Keating S&L scandal.  We knew that he didn't even remember how many houses he owned.

But this piece about Ireland's banking crisis should be on the front page of every newspaper in the United States along with a big picture of John McCain.

Instead, McCain spent yesterday at the Wall Street Journal's CEO Council along with Chuck Grassley and other elected officials.

McCain and Grassley complained that there was "not enough certainty" in the current business climate for businesses to begin hiring, and that the Bush Tax Cuts were a part of that equation.

"It all adds up to the one word: uncertainty," Grassley said. "It seems to me that we have to be up to now is putting in some certainty so that so that these people that have this $2 trillion under their control — the cash will get out and use it and make some money off of it and hire some people in the process."

Sen. John McCain (R, Ariz.) said that he also supported extending the tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 under the Bush administration.

Thankfully, my Congresscritter was there to set the record straight:

Rep. Jim Cooper (D, Tenn.) — a moderate "Blue Dog" Democrat who avoided the fate of fellow moderates and won re-election — took a shot at McCain, who had complained about the healthcare law.

"What we’re hearing here tonight is the continuation of the campaign, and part of that is due to the fact that the camera is on," Cooper said.

"Campaigning is so different than governing. Governing, as you all know running your corporations - you have to make deals. Sen. McCain, this isn’t the first time that deals were made in Washington. Compromise is necessary if you’re going to govern a great and diverse nation of over 300 million people."

And it is the unwillingness of the Republicans to compromise - their inability to take reasonable positions on issues like tax cuts or deficits - that makes them so hard to work with.  While Ireland's economy teeters on the brink and the European Union is dragged down by the weakness in the Irish banking system, Republicans who want to imitate the Irish economy are ideologuing their way into political corners.

I know John McCain's experience as a POW helped strengthen his resolve and raised his tolerance for pain, but frankly, I'd rather not end up enslaved to any foreign countries.

I'm a fiscal conservative and voted for George Bush in 2000 because I believed that our short-term recession issues could best be addressed by making more capital available at the turn of the 21st century.  But that was before 9/11, before invading Afghanistan, before the shenanigans about WMD in Iraq, Medicare Part D, before the founding of the TSA, before the Homeland Security department existed, and before warrantless wiretaps were "keeping me safe" by invading my privacy.

The vast majority of elected Republicans in Congress were there for the past decade's failures.  And now, like the panhandling addict who promises that this will be the last time he gets high, Republicans are trying to engage in even more corporate welfare and begging us to cut taxes for the billionaire do-nothings who put them in office.

It's time for America to grow up.  We cannot cut taxes and cut deficits.  We cannot spur economic growth by enslaving our children with debt.  We cannot continue to rely on foreign sources of energy to fuel our economic recovery and we cannot continue to act as the world's police officer.

If Democrats want independent-minded voters to support them, they need to act like Alice Rivlin.  Rivlin, a budget wonk who is a member (not chair) of the Fiscal Commission, said bluntly at the CEO Council, "I don’t think we can do it without tax increases."  No more free lunches.  No more economic theories pulled out of thin air and drawn on napkins.  No more voodoo economics.

It's time to cut waste, not cut corners.  Any tax cut that does not directly stimulate economic growth or job creation needs to be off the table.  I like Mark Warner's proposal - if Republicans really think that corporate tax cuts are the way to spur economic growth, then let's take away the Bush tax giveaways for millionaires and apply those tax cuts to targeted business tax incentives that create jobs.  Better yet, spend those tax cuts on our nation's crumbling infrastructure or on building a smart grid or on stimulating energy independence.

Originally posted to Benintn on Tue Nov 16, 2010 at 11:01 AM PST.

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