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How much do you know about John McCain? :Moderate, radical or just plain reckless?

05.23.08

How much do you know about John McCain? :Moderate, radical or just plain reckless?

by Ron Ennis, Lehigh Valley Postal Workers
Editor, Lehigh Valley Labor Council

Reprinted from the Lehigh Valley (PA) Labor Council newsletter

Since 2002, Senator John McCain has been President George Bush’s staunchest ally in the Iraq War. But earlier this year, the Republican presidential candidate signed onto another Bush policy: his tax and economic agenda.

“I think it’s very important that we make the Bush tax cuts permanent,” McCain remarked at the MSNBC Republican Presidential debate on January 24. “I voted to make them permanent twice already.…”
Amid record-breaking deficits, fast approaching $9.4 trillion, defunding the government during war may seem risky. In fact, upon closer examination, McCain’s tax proposals border on reckless.

It’s quite a turnaround for the four-term senator, who initially opposed the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts. He argued that the 2003 bill was unwise during a time of war and that both benefited the wealthy at the expense of the middle class.

In a 2004 interview with Tim Russert on Meet the Press, McCain clarified his opposition to the president’s economic policies. “I voted against the tax cuts because of the disproportional amount that went to the wealthiest Americans. I would clearly support not extending those tax cuts in order to help address the deficit.”

Now, caving in to his party’s right-wing base, the Republican nominee appears to have discarded his voice of economic reason and replaced it with extremism.

Who’s behind John McCain?
The following are the top ten contributors to McCain’s presidential campaign to date.

Merrill Lynch
Blank-Rome LLP
Citigroup
Greenberg Traurig, LLP
AT&T, Inc.
Goldman Sachs
Morgan Stanley
JP Morgan Chase & Co.
Credit Suisse Group
Lehman Brothers

The money came from the organization’s PAC, its individual members or employees or owners, and those individuals’ immediate families. Organization totals include subsidiaries and affiliates

Data: Center for Responsive Politics, Opensecrets.org

With Bush’s tax cuts set to expire in 2010, the Arizona senator wants to extend them permanently as well as repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax, double the dependent exemption, raise the estate tax exemption and lower its rate, make permanent the research credit and cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. He also wants to suspend the 18 cents per gallon federal gas tax for the summer.

“These proposals would reduce federal revenues by about $5.7 trillion over ten years if they could be enacted immediately,” wrote Len Burman of the Tax Policy Center. “Under a more realistic assumption that they don’t take effect until October 2009, the cost would be about $5.4 trillion.”

The reduction in essential services would be draconian. “Cuts this size would pare government back to levels not seen since the Eisenhower administration,” concluded Burman.

While McCain is unclear as to what programs would be placed on the chopping block, his fiscal policy could threaten Social Security. The program, says McCain, needs “bold reform – genuine reform – that allows workers to invest some of their Social Security savings, privately, in higher-yielding accounts.”

Finally, the magnitude of McCain’s tax proposals has caused him to scrap his campaign promise to balance the federal budget – meaning that his tax cuts will be deficit-financed and paid for by our children and grandchildren.

Now that’s reckless.

Poison pill: McCain’s healthcare plan

In a recently released television ad, McCain says, “Let’s give every American family a $5,000 refundable tax credit so that they can go out” and buy health insurance.

A remedy for America’s health care ills? Not exactly.

What the senior senator from Arizona failed to mention was that he would pay for the tax credit by eliminating the tax break currently offered to employers for providing health insurance to employees. Workers would be taxed on the value of any employer-paid health benefits, partially offsetting the $5,000 credit for those now covered by such plans. And experts say his plan could eventually force companies to reduce or eliminate health benefits to their rank-and-file.

McCain is against publicly-funded health care, universal health care or health coverage mandates.

In short, rather than providing a cure, his health care plan might make a lot of people sick.

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