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McCain Proposes More New Spending

PHILADELPHIA — Following several days of indecision on whether to announce a new set of economic proposals, Sen. John McCain, the GOP presidential nominee, may have been forced into a more proactive role when Sen. Barack Obama unveiled a new economic plan of his own yesterday.

The McCain campaign offered a preview of the $52.5 billion economic plan the GOP presidential nominee is expected to roll out at a rally this morning in Blue Bell, Pa.

From The New York Times:

The adviser, Douglas Holtz-Eakin, said Mr. McCain would propose that people 59 years and older who withdraw money from IRAs or 401k retirement plans in 2009 and 2010 pay a tax rate of 10 per cent on the money rather than their higher normal tax rates. The plan would cost $36 billion, based on McCain campaign internal estimates, Mr. Holtz-Eakin said.

In addition, Mr. McCain is to propose three other new measures: a 50 per cent reduction in the capital gains tax on stock profits, from the current 15 per cent to 7.5 per cent, for a period of two years, at an estimated cost of $10 billion; an acceleration in the tax write-off for stock losses, allowing Americans to deduct $15,000 in losses a year for the tax years 2008 and 2009 (current rules allow deductions for up to $3,000 in losses), and a suspension on the tax on unemployment insurance benefits in 2008 and 2009.

In a conference call with reporters to discuss the plan this morning, Holtz-Eakin recapped the details already released by the campaign, but did not offer much new information, saying he did not want to pre-empt McCain’s speech today.

When asked where the money for McCain’s plan would come from, Holtz-Eakin said no specific offsets were included in the plan. He said the proposals would not interfere with McCain’s plan to balance the federal budget by the end of his first term.

But with the nation waging two wars, a massive economic bailout, $300 billion of potential new spending proposed by McCain for the federal government to buy up and renegotiate bad mortgages, more tax cuts and a likely recession looming, it becomes difficult to see how McCain realistically intends to reach that goal.

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