John McCain's economic speech today contains some good stuff about the budget, the strongest of which is this:
This Congress and this Administration have failed to meet their responsibilities to manage the government. Government has grown by 60 percent in the last eight years. That is simply inexcusable. When I'm president, I will order a stem to stern review of government, modernize how it does business and save billions of dollars. I will veto every single bill with wasteful spending. We aren't going to continue mortgaging this country's future for things Americans don't want or need. My opponent has a very different record on this issue. He has sought millions upon millions of dollars in earmarks since his election to the Senate. In 2007 alone, Senator Obama requested nearly $100 million for earmark projects. I have never asked for a single earmark in my entire career. He supported the $300 billion pork laden agricultural subsidy bill. I opposed it. He voted for an energy bill stuffed with give-aways to oil companies at a time of record profits. I voted against it.
The plan also calls for reforming entitlements, but without details, that is pretty much an empty promise. In the past, McCain has said the way to at least "fix" Social Security was through a bipartisan commission. However, any bipartisan proposal would include payroll tax increases as a solution, meaning that McCain would likely be forced to either do nothing or raise taxes, something that his economic policy adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin would not rule out
the last time I had a chance to ask him.
UPDATE: In a just completed McCain campaign conference call, Holz-Eakin reiterated McCain's support for a bipartisan solution.