November 3, 2008


In Summary: A Comparison of the Candidates’ Tax Plans (Ben Harris, 03 Nov 2008, Tax Policy Center)

With the election a day away, today seems to be the appropriate time to summarize the differences in the candidates’ plans. The main differences are two: first, McCain proposes much larger tax cuts than Obama; and second, Obama’s plan tends to favor low- and middle-income taxpayers while McCain’s plan is more beneficial to those with higher incomes.

Senator McCain would permanently extend all of the income tax cuts enacted by President Bush. Senator Obama extends almost all of the income tax cuts except those that apply to high-income households: he would raise the top two income tax rates, currently 33 and 35 percent, to their Clinton-era levels of 36 and 39.6 percent; restrict the value of exemptions and deductions for high-income households; and raise the top tax rate on dividends and capital gains to 20 percent from 15 percent. Both candidates would limit but not repeal the alternative minimum tax (AMT), and both candidates support the Auto IRA—a plan that would automatically enroll workers in retirement saving accounts.

When George W. Bush ran in 2000 he basically offered America a third term of Bill Clinton but without the Oval Office sodomy and other personal dramas. His platform was extremely concrete and included:

(1) Tax cuts

(2) Personal accounts in SS

(3) No Child Left Behind

(4) The Faith-Based Initiative

(5) Missile Defense

(6) An Energy bill

He also added on promises, due to electoral pressure in the primaries and the general, to sign CFR and a prescription drug benefit. As a result of 9-11 he liberated Afghanistan and Iraq by force of arms.

As he prepares to leave office, the two wars can be said to be not quite concluded, though America's vital role has been fulfilled, and while he did enact a Comprehensive Pension Reform, he failed to get the SS personalization. Everything else he ran on he delivered.

Comes the 2008 election and the endless chatter about "Change." So, what exactly would either a President Obama or a President McCain change?


That's right. You can watch every ad the two campaigns have run and read their stump speeches from header to footnote and you'll find almost no negative mention of any of the major reforms of the Bush years, nevermind any proposal for significant change.

Heck, John McCain even voted against the Bush tax cuts but would now keep them. And while Democrats forced the President to effect the FBI via executive orders rather than by legislation, their nominee wants to extend the program, not undo it.

To a quite extraordinary degree, given all the vitriol and hysteria directed at our last two presidents, this election boils down to two guys who just offer a less partisan and more "competent" continuation of precisely the same politics.

Posted by Orrin Judd at November 3, 2008 11:46 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« HOPEFUL RESULTS, IF...: | Main | »