McCain Contradicts Himself On ‘Spreading The Wealth': Taxes Should ‘Help Those Who Can’t Help Themselves’

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"McCain Contradicts Himself On ‘Spreading The Wealth': Taxes Should ‘Help Those Who Can’t Help Themselves’"

On CNN last night, Larry King asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) if he really believed that Sen. Barack Obama (D-IL) is a “socialist,” as conservatives have tried to paint him. “No,” replied McCain, before charging that Obama “has stated time after time that he believes in quote, ‘spreading the wealth around.'”

King pressed on, asking, “Isn’t the graduated income tax spreading the wealth?” McCain admitted that it was, but claimed that it was “dramatically different” from what he accuses Obama of supporting:

L. KING: Concerning spreading the wealth, isn’t the graduated income tax spreading the wealth?

MCCAIN: The graduated income tax…

L. KING: If you and I paid more so that Jimmy can get some for him or pay for a welfare recipient, that’s spreading the wealth.

MCCAIN: Well, that’s spreading the wealth in the respect that we do have a graduated income tax. That’s a far cry from taking from one group of Americans and giving to another. I mean, that’s dramatically different.

When King asked if “taxes pay for services,” McCain contradicted his claim that the graduated income tax wasn’t about “taking from one group of Americans and giving to another.” “Taxes pay to keep our government secure, to help those who can’t help themselves and other functions of government,” said McCain. Watch it:

McCain’s contradictory attempt to explain his attacks against Obama echoes the difficulty that his spokesman, Tucker Bounds, had yesterday in explaining Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s boast that Alaskans “share in the wealth” of windfall oil taxes. Bounds claimed that Alaska’s sharing of natural resources is “unique” and not at all socialist.

Transcript:

L. KING: Do you — you don’t believe Barack Obama is a socialist, do you?

MCCAIN: No. But I do believe — I do believe that he’s been in the far left of American politics. He has stated time after time that he believes in quote, “spreading the wealth around.” He’s talked about courts that would redistribute the wealth.

He has a record of voting against tax cuts and for tax increases. And I don’t think there’s any doubt that he would increase spending and he would — and sooner or later, we would be increasing taxes.

There is no doubt in my mind that that’s what his record — 94 times he voted to cut taxes — against tax cuts and for tax increases. He voted for — and that’s what matters, not rhetoric — to raise taxes on individuals making $42,000 a year.

L. KING: Concerning spreading the wealth, isn’t the graduated income tax spreading the wealth?

MCCAIN: The graduated income tax…

L. KING: If you and I paid more so that Jimmy can get some for him or pay for a welfare recipient, that’s spreading the wealth.

MCCAIN: Well, that’s spreading the wealth in the respect that we do have a graduated income tax. That’s a far cry from taking from one group of Americans and giving to another. I mean, that’s dramatically different.

Senator Obama clearly has talked about, for years, redistributive policies. And that’s not the way we create wealth in America. That’s not the way we grow our economy. That’s not the way we create jobs.

And when small business people see that half of their income — half of the income of small businesses is going to be taxed by Senator Obama, then they’re very upset about it.

L. KING: He says it’s only the personal income tax. If you run a small — if you make $250,000 or more as a personal income, not a business income, that’s where he’s…

MCCAIN: And that’s…

L. KING: …he would increase your taxes.

MCCAIN: And that’s where his folks just reduced it to $200,000. And then Senator Biden yesterday said $150,000. And the fact is that if “Joe the Plumber” is able to buy the business that he works in, the guy that he buys it from is going to see an increase in capital gains taxes. They’re going to see an increase in payroll taxes. They’re going to see — if he reaches a certain level — an increase in his income taxes. And that’s what got people concerned. That’s what’s got “Joe the Plumber” upset.

L. KING: But doesn’t taxing…

MCCAIN: He wants to redistribute the money.

L. KING: Doesn’t taxes pay for services?

MCCAIN: Taxes pay for services…

L. KING: I’ve got taxes.

MCCAIN: But do we want — taxes pay to keep our government secure, to help those who can’t help themselves and other functions of government…

L. KING: Right.

MCCAIN: …which by the way, expanded by some 40 percent in the last eight years and gave us a $10 trillion debt…

L. KING: Under Bush.

MCCAIN: And the last two years under Democrat majorities in the House and Senate. But that’s the job of government.

But it is not the job of government that I believe in that would take a group of Americans who have some money and say, we’re taking your money and we’re giving it to others — this 95 percent tax cut he’s talking about for 95 percent of Americans. Forty percent of Americans pay no income tax. So he’s just going to give them some money. Where is he going to get it?

He’s increasing taxes for other groups of Americans.

L. KING: What are you going to do?

MCCAIN: That’s his plan.

I’m going to keep taxes low. I’m going to…

L. KING: Keep them right where they are?

MCCAIN: Sure. Absolutely.

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