The Victory Savings Plan

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Just an additional word on John McCain's preposterous plan to balance the budget in part through the savings accrued by his mystery scheme for "victory" in Iraq. When you're talking about budgetary savings, you need to be talking compared to some baseline. So in this case while it's true that securing some undefined victory through undefined methods at an unknown future date would be cheaper than continuing precisely as is forever, that this "endless war" scenario doesn't exist in any of the standard budget projections.

There aren't, in short, any real savings to be achieved here -- only a large question mark as to how much additional deficit spending will take place. McCain, despite a certain amount of flim-flam last week to the contrary, is still the candidate who'll spend more in Iraq over a longer period of time than will the alternative candidate for the presidency.

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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