The big question is whether McCain’s radical agenda is simply designed to rally the Republican base, or would prove a blueprint for a McCain presidency. Given the Arizona Senator’s maverick record, voters have every reason to distrust the new McCain. He twice opposed the Bush tax cuts and keeps dropping disturbing lines like, “I don’t know as much about the economy as I should.”
But economic conservatives should take heart. McCain’s chief economic adviser – and perhaps his closest political friend – is the ultimate pure play in free market faith, former Texas Senator Phil Gramm. If McCain follows Gramm’s counsel, and most of his current positions are vintage Gramm indeed, his policies as president would represent not just a sharp departure from the Bush years, but an assault on government growth that Republicans have boasted about, but failed to achieve, for decades.
Today, McCain is advocating a plan that’s radically different from those of Clinton and Barack Obama, and – if he goes all the way by following Gramm – could revolutionize America’s healthcare system. For McCain and Gramm, the problem with our healthcare system – and the reason why over 47 million Americans are uninsured – is that it’s excessively, scandalously expensive. The solution, they say, is to let Americans shop for healthcare with their own money. McCain advocates giving tax rebates of $2500 per individual or $5000 per family. With that money, families could purchase policies on their own. What’s truly radical about the plan is that it eliminates the tax exclusion for healthcare benefits offered by companies to their employees, and replaces it with the $2500 to $5000 rebates.
Consumers could then use that cash to buy their own insurance in what Gramm foresees as a vibrant, consumer-driven marketplace for healthcare packages.
By contrast, Clinton and Obama want to leave the employer-based system in place; Clinton would make big companies either fund gold-plated packages for workers, or pay a stiff tax to support a new Medicare-like system. The Democrats wouldn’t allow insurers to charge lower rates for young workers who cost far less than older Americans. McCain favors allowing insurers to charge rates based on actual cost. Gramm adamantly supports that policy allowing insurers to tailor their premiums, and their packages, to their customers. Says Gramm: “Most people without coverage are young and healthy. We shouldn’t penalize them by forcing them to pay for someone else’s coverage.”
Read the long version @: McCain’s econ brain
McCain sounds like just the man for the job. His ideas are much, much better than Clinton or Obama’s populist proposals. Taxing businesses is not the way to improve America. If anything, corporate taxes (which are among the highest in the world) should be lowered.