McCain: I Have An Economic Plan, It’s Good (part 5)

Since Barack Obama’s tax plan was released last week, feedback is naturally mixed according to political bias, but it’s telling when prominent republicans or conservative media supports the plan. The link above is a story outlining how the notoriously conservative WSJ op-ed page supported the plan. Not necessarily because it was Obama’s but because it aims to be responsible.

If we want to keep a strong military and also support domestic agenda basics like upgrading our ailing infrastructure, improving healthcare and education, and solving the housing crisis, taxes have to be higher. Even republican and McCain supporter Charles Schwab said last month that “whoever is elected, those who pay taxes will probably have to pay a little bit more.” Also last Sunday republican NY Times writer and economist Ben Stein took the same position on taxes:

…[McCain] said that if you want to have your taxes raised, don’t vote for him. Let me start by saying that I am a huge fan of Senator McCain … And, I do not want my taxes raised … But the unhappy fact is that it’s necessary to raise my taxes and the taxes of all upper-income Americans … A conservative purist might rejoin here that it would be fine if income tax receipts fell, because we would then have a smaller government and a freer society. That would be nice, but far from true … Government spending grew dramatically under President Reagan, very nearly doubling, and leaving us with a federal deficit vastly bigger than the one he inherited.

I know that a large chunk of that increase was to rebuild the military. I heartily approved of it. But if you want to have a military buildup — and we need one now, desperately — that’s usually a reason to raise taxes, not cut them. Under the current president, we have had the same story.

…Mr. McCain wants to extend many of President Bush’s income tax cuts and to reduce taxes on corporations. But the facts of life are that we have a large budget deficit … This means that if we don’t raise taxes, if we keep doing what we’re doing, the immense deficits and debt will not go away — and will probably grow … The question is simply this: Do we want to step up to the plate like responsible people — I hate to say this, but the last responsible people who actually did this were named Bill and Bob (Clinton and Rubin) — and shoulder our responsibilities? … Do we pay it or do we make our children pay it? Dwight D. Eisenhower — and Bill Clinton — knew the answer: You behave responsibly and balance the budget except in rare circumstances.

Stein concludes by questioning whether McCain will step up. So far, McCain has demonstrated his ability to step up with messages that make good sound bytes. He likes to call Obama an elitist and he likes to present himself as a man of the people. A candidate who won’t raise taxes. Simple enough message. But even when responsible republicans agree with raising taxes, it seems the only message should be: exactly how to raise taxes.

So far Obama has stepped up. While McCain, a rich man who’s worth an estimated $36-100 million, juggles six high-end residences along with countless and conflicting economic messages (see video).

The Basis Point editor supports Obama. Some of The Basis Point’s regular contributors support McCain.