McCain Tax Cuts Would Bloat Deficit Or Take Huge Spending Curbs
By LAURA MECKLER
April 22, 2008; Page A6
Sen. John McCain is proposing tax cuts that would either cause the federal deficit to explode or would require unprecedented spending cuts equal to one-third of federal spending on domestic programs.
.... Altogether, he proposes more than $650 billion in tax cuts a year, much of it benefiting corporations and upper-income families. That includes the cost of extending tax cuts implemented under President Bush that he voted against twice.
To help pay for it all, the Arizona senator says he would cut $160 billion a year from a federal discretionary budget that totals a little more than $1 trillion. He hasn't specified where the cuts would come from.
With military spending -- about half the total -- likely to rise or perhaps stay even, most if not all of the cuts would have to come from domestic programs. The discretionary budget, which excludes entitlements such as Medicare or Social Security, covers areas such as medical research, federal prisons, border security, student loans, food inspections and much else.
The $160 billion figure is equal to the total budget in 2007 for the departments of Education, Energy, Homeland Security, Justice and State.
The chances of cuts of this magnitude are "nonexistent," said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan group that promotes fiscal discipline. "There's not a consensus to cut back on the functions of government that much," he said. "Those are very, very deep cuts."
When he talks about cutting spending, Sen. McCain usually focuses on congressional earmarks, home-state projects that members of Congress insert into spending bills. His stump speech mentions a museum commemorating the Woodstock festival in New York and the infamous "bridge to nowhere" in Alaska. But earmarks total only about $18 billion a year, according to independent estimates.
Sen. McCain and his aides haven't said where he will get his $160 billion in annual discretionary-spending cuts.
Stories such as this make it clear that John McCain is not a serious presidential candidate. He doesn’t have the foggiest clue as to what to do about the massive deficits that the Republican policies of the past eight years have left us with other than to make outrageous (and ultimately false) claims that he will slash vital government programs to nothing. And even if he did, it would not be enough to cover the massive tax cuts that he is proposing we tack on top of Bush’s already massive and fiscally irresponsible tax giveaway to the wealthy.
But McCain has a “free ride” to spout these outrageous claims while the so-called-liberal media obsesses over “bittergate”, flag lapel pins and other meaningless tripe.