In 2001 and 2003, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) opposed President Bush’s tax cuts, arguing that he couldn’t “in good conscience support a tax cut in which so many of the benefits go to the most fortunate among us.” But since then, McCain has ditched his concern about policies tilted towards the wealthy and now wants to double Bush’s tax cuts.
Examining McCain’s shifts on taxes today, the Wall Street Journal’s Martin Vaughan writes that “an apt description” for McCain’s tax proposals would be to say “that the wealthy would benefit most.” In fact, as the Cato Institute’s Chris Edwards points out, McCain’s proposals are aimed at the wealthy “even more so than Bush’s”:
McCain’s apparent bent towards deeper tax cuts at the higher end of the income scale in his recent campaign proposals surprised many who recall his rejection of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts.
“McCain’s proposals this year are consistently pretty supply-side, even more so than Bush’s were,” said Chris Edwards, director of tax policy studies at the Cato Institute.
Earlier this year, the non-partisan Tax Policy Center found that McCain’s economic plan “would primarily benefit those with very high incomes.” In fact, under McCain’s plan, John and Cindy McCain would get a $300,000 tax break while middle class Americans would save only $319. The McCains save $60,016 more under McCain’s tax plan than under Bush’s.
In their more candid moments, McCain’s supporters admit that he is doubling down on Bush’s tax policies. In May, House Minority Whip Roy Blunt (R-MO) said that McCain’s “tax policies” would “be in effect a third Bush term.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told ABC News in June that McCain’s policies would “absolutely” be an “extension” and “enhancement” of Bush’s.