Last month, when economists, en masse, concluded that John McCain’s idea for a “gas-tax holiday” didn’t make a lick of sense, McCain told a gr
July 6, 2008

Last month, when economists, en masse, concluded that John McCain’s idea for a “gas-tax holiday” didn’t make a lick of sense, McCain told a group of voters that economists aren’t to be trusted.

This morning, McCain decided that he actually loves economists.

U.S. Senator John McCain’s presidential campaign today released a statement signed by over 300 professional economists in support of John McCain’s Jobs for America economic plan. The list includes Nobel Prize winners, business economists with experience in the private sector, policy economists with experience in government and academic economists from major universities and state and community colleges.

Considering the fact that McCain’s economic plan is rather ridiculous, I suppose it’s rather impressive that his campaign pulled together over 300 professional economists (I’m going to assume that’s accurate; I didn’t check the credentials of the names) to endorse this nonsense.

But as it turns out, there’s a catch. As Ben Smith reported, “The statement [signed by the economists] leaves out two big chunks of McCain’s economic argument: the gas tax holiday and his promise to balance the budget by the end of his first term — there’s literally nothing in the release that mentions the deficit or national debt.”

In other words, the economists didn’t endorse his economic plan; they endorsed his plan after taking out two of the more transparently stupid centerpiece ideas of the plan.

Doesn’t that tell us quite a bit? The McCain campaign couldn’t even get like-minded economist allies to endorse his economic plan without quietly allowing them to ignore two of the proposals McCain claims to take seriously?

For that matter, here’s another question. For the next four months, how many times will the McCain campaign and his media base argue, “This economic plan must be pretty good if it’s been endorsed by over 300 economists”? If anyone’s willing to set an over/under, bet on the over. Trust me.

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