Sen. John McCain has a strong record on taxes. In 2001 and 2003, he voted staunchly against tax cuts proposed by President Bush, calling them both a giveaway for the wealthy and unfair to low and middle-income wage earners. In 2001, McCain broke ranks and became one of two members of his party to vote against Bush’s most extensive tax cut plan. McCain explained on the Senate floor:
I cannot in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us at the expense of middle-class Americans who need tax relief.
Over the years, McCain has consistently advocated for middle class tax relief. He offered, and voted for, measures that gave savings to lower income tax earners by shrinking the cut in the top tax rate for the wealthiest individuals, allowed service members on active duty to qualify for tax relief as they sold their primary residence, and blocked a repeal of the estate tax.
But now, almost seven years to the day since the first Bush tax cut (which is set to expire in 2010), John McCain is singing a different tune in order to appease his GOP base. Over and over again, McCain has endorsed making Bush’s tax cuts permanent, directly contradicting his years of Congressional votes:
Well, I think the worst thing we can do right now is — we’ve got some shaky economic times — is to increase people’s taxes. And I think that what we need is more tax cuts. We need to make Bush tax cuts permanent. [3/08]
John McCain is a rare breed of politician — the kind that can wipe out an admirable legislative record that spans more than a quarter century with two years of opportunistic, self-serving rhetoric. Nobody said running for president was easy, but trading in long-standing beliefs for a presidential nomination is the worst kind of flip-flopping.