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McCain's Top Campaign Adviser: Record Deficits Would Have Happened Under McCain, Too

First Posted: 04/03/10 06:12 AM ET Updated: 05/25/11 04:25 PM ET

Mccain

The top economic adviser to John McCain's presidential campaign acknowledged on Monday that the U.S. would be running a historic deficit this year even if the Arizona Republican had won the White House.

In an interview on MSNBC, Douglas Holtz-Eakin argued that under McCain's stewardship economic policy would have been strikingly different than under Obama -- with a much smaller stimulus bill and government expenditures going down as opposed to up.

But the former Congressional Budget Office director did acknowledge that, even with these changes, the country "probably would still have a record deficit" as is projected under the Obama administration.

The acknowledgment by Holtz-Eakin is a blow of sorts to the GOP argument that the record-breaking $1.56 trillion projected deficit is solely Obama's responsibility. One hour after Holtz-Eakin's interview, for instance, RNC Chairman Michael Steele sent out a statement, lashing the White House for "growing the deficit by record proportions and killing jobs by raising taxes on small businesses."

In actuality -- as most sober-minded economists attest -- many of the deficit problems the current administration faces today are traced directly back to the policies of its predecessors. This, indeed, seems to be implicit in Holtz-Eakin's acknowledgment.

In December 2009, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities concluded that the then-$1.4 trillion annual deficit run by the government under Obama had much to do with the Bush administration's package of tax cuts, the wars it launched in Iraq and Afghanistan and its response to the recession.

Those findings mirrored a report released a month earlier by the Democratic-leaning Center for American Progress -- which concluded that much of the deficit was owed to the decrease in tax receipts the federal government was receiving as a result of the recession.

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