Monday, April 28, 2008

John McCain - Stupid or Dishonest?

Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Sunday called Democratic rival Barack Obama insensitive to poor people and out of touch on economic issues.

The GOP nominee-in-waiting rapped his Democratic rival for opposing his idea to suspend the tax on fuel during the summer, a proposal that McCain believes will particularly help low-income people who usually have older cars that guzzle more gas.
What a brilliant idea. Create a "tax holiday" that will probably simply result in higher margins for the oil industry, in order to help people owning the least efficient cars drive more miles. Let's not, say, consider subsidizing their transition into newer, more reliable, more efficient vehicles. Let's not offer them a rebate, such that the oil industry doesn't simply raise gas prices ("supply and demand") to turn the "tax holiday" into additional profits.

Hey - here's an idea. Let's not diminish the highway fund at all, but instead suspend subsidies to the energy industry over the summer, and pass the savings along to Americans in the form of an increased "rebate check". Oh... you say that's a "no go" if it involves taking taxpayer money away from wealthy, profitable corporations? Well, there's a surprise....
The Arizona senator deflected questions about his record on the Bush administration's tax cuts — he initially opposed them but now supports extending them — by again criticizing Obama.

"Sen. Obama wants to raise the capital gains tax, which would have a direct effect on 100 million Americans," McCain said. "That means he has no understanding of the economy and that he is totally insensitive to the hopes and dreams and ambitions of 100 million Americans who will be affected by his almost doubling of the capital gains tax."
A standard Republican lie. The suggestion that ordinary taxpayers pay capital gains taxes on their retirement funds. No, John. We pay income tax on our tax-deferred retirement savings when we make withdrawals. That is to say, most of us pay taxes well above the capital gains tax rate. That special rate is best enjoyed by filthy rich families - you know, like you and your wife.

Yes, I'm aware of McCain's many statements that he doesn't understand the economy, and I'm willing to concede that point. But these statements aren't emerging from a vacuum - he didn't create these policies or responses on his own. They're the product of his campaign team, and this is what his campaign stands for. You want to talk elitist - yes, voters, the McCain campaign thinks you're stupid. Worse, they're trusting that the media won't point this out.

(In relation to the title of this post, please note that I don't want to create a false dichotomy - he could be both. As for whether it's impolite to suggest that McCain is stupid? Well, that's apparently his assumption about me, so let's just say "turnabout is fair play.")

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