NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


September 8, 2008

How do John McCain and Barack Obama differ on the economy? The National Journal compared and contrasted the two presidential candidates. Below is a summary of McCain's position on the economy.

Bush tax cuts:

  • McCain plans to make permanent the 2001 and 2003 income-tax cuts that expire at the end of 2010, including those that set the tax rate for most dividend and capital-gains income at 15 percent.
  • He would preserve most of Bush's temporary cut in estate taxes, establishing a 15 percent rate for estates worth $10 million or more.

New tax cuts:

  • McCain has pledged to eliminate the alternative minimum tax.
  • He wants to double the personal exemption for dependents from $3,500 to $7,000, a move that benefits larger families.
  • He wants to cut the corporate income-tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent.

The budget:

  • McCain has committed to a "pay-as-you-go" approach to budgeting, but has not explained how his tax cuts would be financed.
  • McCain contends that hundreds of million of dollars can be saved each year by eliminating "waste, fraud, and abuse," but he has not provided examples.
  • McCain's tax cuts would cost as much as $400 billion a year, or about 40 percent of all discretionary spending.

Housing and credit crisis:

  • McCain supports a larger, but unspecified, role for the Federal Reserve in regulating financial institutions but encourages -- rather than requires -- larger capital reserves by banks.
  • Opposes large increases in government spending to help renegotiate existing mortgages, and proposes programs that would exclude people who borrow too much to buy their homes or are currently unlikely to meet the terms of a new mortgage.

Source: "McCain on the Economy," in "Where They Stand," National Journal, August 30, 2008.


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