During an appearance on CNBC yesterday, Carly Fiorina, an economic adviser for Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), was pressed by Larry Kudlow to explain what McCain’s proposed tax policies will do for the middle class. Kudlow said that he believes the McCain campaign will be “in a squeeze for the lack of a comprehensive middle class tax cut.”
Fiorina responded that “what we need to do for middle Americans” is “drill, drill, drill” for oil, while adding vaguely that “we need to make sure the economy is growing again.” Watch it:
Kudlow was absolutely right to say that McCain’s tax plan lacks a middle class tax cut — his proposal delivers nearly half of its benefits to the top 1% of taxpayers, and gives the top 0.1% a $1 million tax cut. According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, “those in the middle fifth of the income distribution would receive an average cut equal to 0.7 percent of income” or just $319. Under Sen. Barack Obama’s (D-IL) proposed tax plan, middle class families would receive three times as much.
Furthermore, Fiorina’s claim that drilling for more oil will help the middle class is simply ridiculous. The Energy Information Administration has said that drilling for oil in the Outer Continental Shelf “would not have a significant impact” on oil prices before 2030. The McCain campaign has already conceded as much, as economic adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin has said drilling won’t affect current oil supply or prices.
Where offshore drilling will help is in lining the pockets of oil executives and their wealthy investors. But the oil and gas industries have donated heavily to McCain, particularly since he advocated lifting the federal moratorium on offshore drilling, so they are the ones McCain’s tax policies cater to, at the expense of the middle class.