Over the weekend, Politico reported that John McCain would be unveiling a new set of economic proposals. Today, the Times reports that no, he won't be, "unless developments call for some." That's probably for the best, if Politico had the details right:
As part of a plan to reinvigorate his flagging campaign, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) is considering additional economic measures aimed directly at the middle class that are likely to be rolled out this week, campaign officials said.
Among the measures being considered are tax cuts - perhaps temporary - for capital gains and dividends, the officials said.
Let's think about the politics of this idea. If you don't have money invested in the stock market - as I'm pretty sure, say, Barbara Snodgrass doesn't - John McCain is considering a short-term tax cut that won't have any immediate effect on your finances. If you do have money invested invested in the stock market, John McCain is considering a short-term tax cut on capital gains that probably you aren't even earning, because the market is tanking at the moment. And if you're the Obama campaign, you've already got an ad cut and ready to air: What's John McCain's plan for the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression? More tax cuts for the rich.This is not to say that there aren't good reasons for conservatives to keep taxes low on investments, especially in the current economic climate. But as a last-minute political gambit, it makes almost no sense at all: The idea that a campaign that's floundering amid an economic crisis and searching for a way to connect with the middle class will reverse its fortunes by proposing a temporary capital-gains tax cut is the sort of daft notion that would only occur to a political party suffering from profound ideological sclerosis, and teetering on the brink of an election-night disaster.