Today, Martin Feldstein and John Taylor, two of Sen. John McCain’s (R-AZ) economic advisers, published an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal claiming that McCain’s tax plan is designed to help “all Americans,” “especially those in the hard-pressed middle class,” and that “Mr. McCain will bring the budget into balance.”
In reality, McCain’s plan will significantly favor the ultra-rich and America’s largest corporations over the middle class, while driving up the federal deficit. Here is a dissection of the McCain campaign’s argument, and why McCain’s plan doesn’t really help “all Americans”:
CLAIM: John McCain’s tax policies are designed to create jobs, increase wages and allow all Americans — especially those in the hard-pressed middle class — to keep more of what they earn.
FACT: McCain’s tax plan delivers almost half its benefits to the top 1% of taxpayers, and gives the top 0.1% a $1 million tax cut. The only middle class tax cut his campaign can cite is “drill, drill, drill.”
CLAIM: Mr. McCain’s plan will significantly ease the tax burden on American families with children by doubling the personal exemption to $7,000 from $3,500.
FACT: According to the Tax Policy Center, “although this provision is sometimes described as a doubling of the personal exemption, that is true only in the first year, and then only for lower-income married couples,” leaving everyone else out. Every other family’s exemption is not fully phased in until 2016, and “because it is not refundable, it is worth nothing to poor families and little to many in the working-class.” Over 100 million families receive no tax cut under McCain’s plan.
CLAIM: Mr. McCain will bring the budget into balance.
FACT: As the Wonk Room has previously noted, McCain could not balance the budget with his current tax proposals, even if he cut ten cabinet agencies. His budget would create the largest deficit in 25 years.
Of course, the McCain campaign already has a history of disconnect between what it says and what it means. This op-ed is no exception: when McCain says his plan helps all Americans, he means the wealthy and the Fortune 200.