Sen. John McCain turned his focus on the economy today. In a speech this morning at the National Fed. of Independent Business and eBay 2008 National Small Business Summit in Washington, McCain talked about his plan for helping small business. The Arizona senator praised small businesses as "what make the American economy run" and opened his speech with a joke:
The address was heavy on policy prescriptions, and McCain hit all his major points, including: honoring and expanding free-trade agreements with other nations, doubling the child tax exemption, phasing out the alternative minimum tax, and lowering — but not repealing — the estate tax. The latter, a tax on estates following death that mostly affects the wealthy — often referred to derisively as the "death tax" — has long been on the GOP hit list. The GOP-controlled Congress, including McCain, attemptedto repeal it in 2000, only to be thwarted by President Bill Clinton’s veto. Congressional Republicans tried and failed to repeal the tax in 2006. McCain blasted his Democratic opponent, Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), for supporting an increase in the estate tax.
Another of my disagreements with Sen. Obama concerns the estate tax, which he proposes to increase to a top rate of 55 percent. The estate tax is one of the most unfair tax laws on the books, and the first step to reform is to keep it predictable and keep it low. After a lifetime building up a business, and paying taxes on every dollar that business earns, that asset should not be subjected to a confiscatory tax.
McCain also played to the GOP base with another item from its wish list, the flat tax. He reiterated his pledge to simplify the tax code by creating a flatter "alternative tax system."
It is not enough, however, to make little fixes here and there in the tax code — especially if you’re a small business owner filing under the individual tax. What we need is a simpler, a flatter and a fair tax code. As president, I will propose an alternative tax system. When this reform is enacted, all who wish to file under the current system could still do so. And everyone else could choose a vastly less complicated system with two tax rates and a generous standard deduction.
Americans do not resent paying their fair share of taxes. What they do resent, and especially if they’re trying to run a business, is being subjected to thousands of pages of needless and often irrational rules and demands from the IRS. We know from experience that no serious reform of the current tax code will come out of Congress, so now it is time to turn the decision over to the people. We are going to create a new and simpler tax system — and give the American people a choice.
After attacking Obama for "talking about raising taxes on those making over $250,000 — that includes small businesses" by eliminating the cap on the Social Security tax, McCain restated his promises to offer a tax credit for purchasing health insurance, to get tough in punishing corporate wrongdoing, to veto all legislation with earmarks or narrow special-interest giveaways and to order a review of all government programs to identify and root out inefficiency.
With an economic platform of cutting taxes, offering tax credits and promoting government non-intervention in trade and other economic matters, McCain presented himself as a solidly conservative alternative to the more liberal policies Obama outlined yesterday in North Carolina.
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