Jonathan Chait of the New Republic rips John McCain as a phony budget hawk because he wants to cut taxes and has undue focus on earmarks. Here is just some of what Chait fails to understand.
1) Getting rid of earmarks saves money and helps change the spending culture in Washington. Earmarks are often held hostage as a way of forcing votes on other spending projects.
2) McCain also wants to freeze nondefense discretionary domestic spending for at least a year. Beyond that, McCain may limit further increases to something like the rate of growth in gross domestic product or inflation minus 1 percentage point. You already see this happening on the state level.
3) McCain seems to want to trim the growth of government entitlement spending. That is a huge potential source of savings. Obama wants to raise Social Security taxes, for instance.
4) It seems that Chait craves a world of higher taxes on incomes, investments, and corporations, combined with higher government spending on programs and entitlements.