NEW REPORT: McCain Adopts ‘Entire’ Norquist Agenda, Will Double The Bush Tax Cuts

Our guest bloggers are Robert Gordon and James Kvaal, Senior Fellow and Domestic Policy Advisor, respectively, at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

Everyone knows that John McCain has reversed himself on the Bush tax cuts, which he once said came “at the expense of middle-class Americans.” What’s not yet well known is that McCain has offered his own massive tax cuts, mostly for corporations, that are as costly as Bush’s tax cuts and even more regressive.

McCain has won the heart of far-right tax activist Grover Norquist, who only three years ago was calling McCain “the nut-job from Arizona” and a “gun-grabbing, tax-increasing Bolshevik.” But here’s what Norquist says about McCain now:

[John McCain] campaigned on being very good on taxes in this election cycle… that he will continue to make [the Bush tax cuts] permanent, that he will veto any tax increase, period, that he wants to cut the corporate rate from 35 percent to 25 percent, that he wants to have full expensing, that he wants to abolish the AMT …. In addition to being the Americans for Tax Reform’s entire agenda, that is a very pro-growth set of policies he has put forward, and he articulates why they are important.


The McCain plan may please Norquist, but what does it mean for middle-class families? According to a new analysis released today by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, McCain’s new proposals would do the following:

Double the size of the Bush tax cuts, costing more than $2 trillion in their first decade.

Do virtually nothing for the middle class: only 9 percent of the tax cuts will go to the bottom 80 percent of households, while 58 percent will go to the top 1 percent of households.

Follow Norquist’s blueprint that’s been called a “stealth approach to tax reform” — and that aims to abandon progressive taxation in favor of a wage tax imposed mainly on low- and middle-income households.

Read the full report (pdf).