Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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July 28, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

LIES, DAMN LIES, AND TAXES....I confess that I'm not quite as bent out of shape as some people about Michael Scherer's article in Time this week that describes Obama's and McCain's tax plans. Yes, Scherer is more nebulous than he needs to be, but at the same time, it really is true that the plans are complicated and hard to nail down, and Scherer writes plainly about their main features: namely that McCain's plan benefits the rich while Obama's benefits the middle class, and that McCain's plan is a bigger deficit buster than Obama's.

That said, did everyone catch Scherer's lede?

"The choice in this election is stark and simple," John McCain said at recent Denver event, repeating a phrase that is a staple of his stump speech. "Senator Obama will raise your taxes. I won't."

Seems clear enough, right? It's an old argument you already know — Republicans cut taxes, Democrats raise them. Except it's not true, at least not in the way that it seems. But don't take my word for it. Here is Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain's chief economic policy adviser. "I used to say that Barack Obama raises taxes and John McCain cuts them, and I was convinced," he told me in a phone interview this week. "I stand corrected."

Italics mine. So Holtz-Eakin, who is still trying to keep his reputation from being completely shredded by the campaign, now admits that Obama isn't going to raise taxes. But his boss is still saying the opposite. Anyone want to take bets on whether McCain stops lying about this?

Kevin Drum 11:50 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

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No, but I'll take bets on how soon Holtz-Eakin walks back comment and/or ceases to be McCain's chief economic policy advisor. Have stopwatch, can calculate by quatrter-seconds.

Posted by: allbetsareoff on July 28, 2008 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

mccain will never stop lying about this.

the question is why anyone should take holtz-eakin seriously anymore: like greg mankiw before him, he's sold out his bonafides as a serious economist for proximity to power.

Posted by: howard on July 28, 2008 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

The veil of McC's incoherence grows ever more difficult to pierce, but "lying" is (at least) accurate in the sense that he says these things while knowing he has no idea whether they're true.

Posted by: penalcolony on July 28, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

"Anyone want to take bets on whether McCain stops lying about this?"

Sure. I'll take some of that. My nickel to your $10K sound about right?

Posted by: Quaker in a Basement on July 28, 2008 at 12:14 PM | PERMALINK

Howard: Yes, but Holtz-Eakin is sort of like Darth Vader. You can occsionally see that he still struggles slightly with his turn to the dark side.

Posted by: Kevin Drum on July 28, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

kevin, i appreciate that you can see him sweat, but the truth remains that he's a big boy who can make his own choices (as a free marketer, he'd certainly agree). the choice he has made is to enable dishonesty in his professional field. that he may feel anxiety about it late at night is neither here nor there: no one made him take the job and no one makes him keep it.

Posted by: howard on July 28, 2008 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin asked: "Anyone want to take bets on whether McCain stops lying about this?"

Why should McCain hesitate to lie about whatever he likes, when he knows that America's corporate-owned mass media will ensure that he can lie with impunity?

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 28, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

mccain will never stop lying about this.
SecularAnimist is right; straight-talking McCain has stepped up the outright lies lately, and the media has made few attempts to correct them. The American public doesn't pay close enough attention to notice the difference, so the lies become what passes as common knowledge.

Posted by: AJB on July 28, 2008 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

McCain wants the satisfaction of winning.

Obama wants the satisfaction of being high minded.

We have seen this play before. TOO MANY DAMN FUCKING TIMES.

Posted by: gregor on July 28, 2008 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Let me get this straight: you liberals believe that John McCain lies and that Barack Hussein Obama tells the truth. That kind of "political analysis" saves liberals from thinking.

Posted by: mhr on July 28, 2008 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

For John McCain to stop lying would require him to have some sense of honor, some sense of shame. Plainly, he has none, as it's become quite clear that there's nothing he won't say in his desperate grasp to become president.

Posted by: Stefan on July 28, 2008 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

There are conservatives, and then there are clowns.

mhr is a clown, not a conservative.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on July 28, 2008 at 1:54 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,
Didn't we have a thread about analysis of the two candidates tax plans a week or so ago? In any event, an independent analysis of what the candidates have "promised" has been done by the Tax Policy Center and can be found at
http://www.taxpolicycenter.org/UploadedPDF/411741_updated_candidates.pdf

People should read this first,BEFORE parroting Scherer or Ezra's opinions.

Frankly, under Obama my taxes will increase. Under McCain they will stay the same. And no, I am not rich.

Posted by: optical weenie on July 28, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Plainly, he has none, as it's become quite clear that there's nothing he won't say in his desperate grasp to become president.

War hero hater.

Posted by: shortstop on July 28, 2008 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

Just because GOP presidents don't collect taxes doesn't mean they don't impose them. Borrowing money is just defering taxes---that's what the GOP specializes in. Reagan and Bush were literally the biggest taxers in history and McCain will follow in their path.

Posted by: spense on July 28, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly, under Obama my taxes will increase. Under McCain they will stay the same. And no, I am not rich.

Really? Only because you don't see the effect of future taxes to pay off the debt. Or higher long term borrowing costs as the world stops financing that debt. Or realize the lost purchasing power from a declining dollar. Or reduced public services. I could go on...

Posted by: kis on July 28, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

"believe that John McCain lies"????

No, mhr, we have DEMONSTRATED that John McCain lies.

Posted by: CN on July 28, 2008 at 4:13 PM | PERMALINK

kis,
I don't vote for people based upon whether my personal taxes will go up. I vote for people who look like they will do something to improve the economy, reduce the deficit, and improve the environment.
I prefer long term gain, and am quite prepared to go thru short term pain to get it. Unfortunately I don't think many people think like me. Because of this, this is one area where McCain has an "advantage" over Obama. As the independent analysis shows, both Obama and McCain's tax plans increase the deficit. Obama's deficit increase however is less than McCain's. Still both candidates plans increase the deficit. And that is bad. IMHO, both candidates should be promising tax increases. Clinton acknowledged he would have to do so. People understood and decided it was worth it. In the end there was no deficit spending.

Posted by: optical weenie on July 28, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

IMHO, both candidates should be promising tax increases. Clinton acknowledged he would have to do so. People understood and decided it was worth it. In the end there was no deficit spending.
Posted by: optical weenie on July 28, 2008 at 4:19 PM

Well, that's very admirable optical weenie, but you could have stated that in your initial post. Because you didn't you sounded like just another tax cut jihadist whiner.

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on July 28, 2008 at 5:02 PM | PERMALINK

Dr. Morpheus,
You are right, I could have expanded on my initial post. It must be Monday!

Posted by: optical weenie on July 28, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

"Senator Obama will raise your taxes. I won't."

Bullshit. Using the same gauge McCain uses to attack Obama, even a cursory review of McCain's plan makes it clear he intends to raise taxes.

He's simply being disingenuous with the terms "your" and "raise". (Not to mention moronic when it comes to fiscal policy, but that's another subject.)

Posted by: has407 on July 28, 2008 at 11:44 PM | PERMALINK

Can someone tell me if Obama has dropped the plans for a massive FICA increase?

Posted by: Mike on July 29, 2008 at 4:02 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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