Drs. McCain and Gramm Put the U.S. Economy on the Couch; Gramm Diagnoses a “Mental Recession” Among U.S. “Whiners”

By Jennifer Parker

Jul 10, 2008 9:56am

Is there a doctor in the house?

A top economic adviser to Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., — former Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, now vice chair of Swiss banking giant UBS — tells the Washington Times  that the US economy is being weighed down by the belief by Americans that the economy is bad.

"You’ve heard of mental depression; this is a mental recession," Gramm tells the Washington Times, adding that despite all the bad news out there US economic growth continues at a rate of approximately 1 percent. "We may have a recession; we haven’t had one yet."

Adds Gramm: "We have sort of become a nation of whiners. You just hear this constant whining, complaining about a loss of competitiveness, America in decline…We’ve never been more dominant; we’ve never had more natural advantages than we have today…Misery sells newspapers. Thank God the economy is not as bad as you read in the newspaper every day."

This comes on the heels of McCain himself saying of economic distress, "a lot of this is psychological. Because I agree the fundamentals of our economy is still strong.” (Watch HERE.) 

McCain repeated that notion in an idea with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, saying "a lot of our problems today, as you know, are psychological — the confidence, trust, the uncertainty about our economic future, ability to keep our own home." He said his proposed gas tax holiday "might give them a little psychological boost. Let’s have some straight talk, it’s not a huge amount of money.” (Watch HERE.)

McCain last month said that off-shore drilling might have a "psychological" affect as well on the U.S. economy. (Watch HERE.)

Prozac policies?

DNC spox Karen Finney today says: "What John McCain, George Bush  Phil Gramm just don’t understand is that the American people aren’t whining about the state of the economy, they are suffering under the weight of it – the weight of eight years of Bush-enomics that John McCain and Phil Gramm have vowed to continue. How dare John McCain and his advisers so callously dismiss the challenges the American people face. No wonder voters feel John McCain is out of touch, he and his campaign don’t even understand the everyday issues Americans are dealing with."

- jpt

UPDATE: Obama spox Bill Burton reacts to Gramm’s and McCain’s comments: “One of Senator McCain’s top economic advisors may think that when people are struggling with lost jobs, stagnant wages, and the rising costs of everything from gas to groceries, it’s merely a ‘mental recession’. And Senator McCain may think it’s sufficient to offer energy proposals that he admits will have mainly ‘psychological’ benefits. But the American people know that our economic problems aren’t just in their heads. They don’t need psychological relief – they need real relief – and that’s what Barack Obama will provide as President."


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