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July 31, 2008

McCain Mushy On Taxes

This 'straight talk' I've heard so much about sure seems to have a lot of zigs and zags in it.

After saying he opposes a tax raise and that "I will not raise your taxes nor support a tax increase. I will not do it", McCain followed that up with less than Shermanesque statements.

But just hours later, he appeared to open another crack in his no-new-taxes pledge.

In any negotiation that I might have, when I go in, my position will be that I am opposed to raising taxes. But we have to work together to save Social Security, McCain said at a fundraiser Wednesday evening in Kansas City.

Pressed repeatedly in an interview with local reporters Wednesday, McCain said several times that he couldnt rule anything out when it comes to Social Security.

Ive been involved in Washington in many negotiations on issues, whether it be immigration or campaign-finance reform or issues before the Commerce Committee. You go in with a position and you negotiate, McCain said. My position is that Im against increased taxes, and my record shows that I have opposed tax increases and been in favor of tax cuts.

McCain added: My position going in in negotiations is Im against tax increases, and I have not been supportive of tax increases, and we will negotiate and you have to negotiate in good faith.

It's depressing we are still wondering exactly where McCain is on taxes. He can say all he wants about his new found support for the "Bush Tax Cuts" but he reality is they are going to disappear in 2010 unless an extension is passed and signed. Obviously a President can't pass his cuts, it will require bullying what may well be (is likely to be?) a still Democratic Congress to do it.

Instead of hearing from him how he is going to accomplish the goal of keeping the tax cuts, we are wondering if he will fight for them or bargain them away as part of his need to "negotiate in good faith".

His less than solid answers on Social Security taxes aren't exactly inspiring confidence in me on the whole issue.

Ah, the joys of nominating a long time legislator to be President.

In the comments runninrebel thinks it's unfair that I am conflating Social Security taxes and income taxes. I thought it was clear in the original post that I realized they were different things. In case it wasn't, my problem with McCain is given his mushiness on Social Security taxes, why exactly should I take his word on income taxes? Don't forget McCain opposed the tax cuts in 2001, so it's not like he has a history of consistency on taxes to begin with.

To me taxes aren't as much a matter of what you say, it's a matter of philosophy. I don't remember George W. Bush ever saying he'd never raise taxes but it was clear it wasn't part of his make up (if only he felt the same way about lowering spending).

Given McCain's opposition to the most recent tax cuts and his vacillation on Social Security taxes, I don't have that comfort with him.

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posted by DrewM. at 12:41 PM

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