John McCain’s campaign is in dire straits, nevermind the serious campaigning has just started. He has lost numerous advisors, two pastors and a campaign strategist, who wouldn’t take part in the upcoming campaign against Obama. Poll numbers show an Obama bump, not as dramatic as the latest Newsweek poll suggests, but a steady increase in approval for Barack Obama, as seen in the polls provided by RCP.
Admittedly short of knowledge when it comes to economics McCain turned to Phil Gramm the former Texas Senator. Gramm is the kind of economist Republicans profess to love most, budget balancing and anti government-spending and supply-side oriented. But Gramm is vice chairman of and a lobbyist for the Zurich based UBS (United Bank of Switzerland), too. The UBS is a major casualty of the subprime mortgage crisis and Gramm has lobbied on behalf of the bank to avoid stronger regulation and federal action in the mortgage crisis.
There is more. In Florida UBS banker Bradley Birkenfeld has been arrested on allegations of having helped UBS customers in the US committing tax fraud, by funnelling money into Liechtstein. Initially refusing to cooperate, Birkenfeld caved in last week and pleaded guilty. The US asks the UBS to release bank details of 20’000 US customers. This has led to a sense of panic not only within the bank and among America’s rich, but in Switzerland, too, which sees its famed banking secrecy in jeopardy and sent a delegation of government officials to the US. To no avail. Now FBI agents will “assist” Swiss authorities in their research into the alleged tax fraud.
You can find this and some more, namely Gramm’s connection to Enron, here.
A worthy advisor for a Republican candidate indeed.