One More Reason To Root Against John McCain

Posted in Around The Nation, Around The State, Bad Government Republicans, Commentary, Presidential Election at 12:23 pm by wcnews

Phil Gramm is part of his campaign, which means he’d probably be an economic advisor if McCain is elected. If you’ve forgotten how bad he was, John Young at the WacoTrib has a great piece up on him, The old Grammstander, that will remind you.

“Grammstanding” was a term observers used when he would denounce spending at one microphone and zip to the next to credit himself for spending coming his constituents’ way. Granted, this describes any number of politicians. But Gramm elevated it to an art.

Gramm remains for some the embodiment of fiscal discipline, even if he helped usher this nation into the depths of intractable debt.


Look at a pie chart of discretionary federal spending. Fifty-nine percent of it is on our military.

Transportation? Two percent. Foreign aid? Four percent. Education, job training and those dreaded “social services”? Six percent.

I asked Gramm once about this disproportionality. He said military spending helped crush the Soviet empire, making every penny well-spent.

If one assumes that to be true — all money well-spent (like, say, outer-space weapons that couldn’t neutralize a traffic light) ” I asked: Why wasn’t it worth finding the tax dollars to pay for it?

Gramm shrugged and compared it to a mortgage.

So, introduce me to a homeowner who puts 60 cents of every discretionary dollar into his house payment. Must be a racquetball court — or six — in that palace.

This has long been my favorite point of hypocrisy about Phil.

Gramm, the great crusader against government spending, has spent his entire life on the government tit. He was born at a military hospital, raised on his father’s Army pay, went to private school at Georgia Military Academy on military insurance after his father died, paid for his college tuition with same, got a National Defense Fellowship to graduate school, taught at a state-supported school, and made generous use of his Senate expense account. In 1987, a Dallas developer named Jerry Stiles flew a construction crew to Maryland to work on Gramm’s summer home. Stiles spent $117,000 on the project but was kind enough to bill Gramm only $63,433. When Stiles got in trouble for misusing funds from a savings and loan he owned, Gramm did him some “routine” favors with regulators. Stiles was later convicted on 11 counts of conspiracy and bribery.

I guess he figures the Enron storm has blown over and he can get back into politics now.

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