One of the most interesting questions at last week’s debate was from a woman asking what sacrifices John McCain and Barack Obama would ask of Americans “to get out of the economic morass.”
The questioner alluded to World War II, the hallmark usually cited by people miffed that the war on terror doesn’t involve meatless days. Of course, our troops do not lack for meat and, what with blue bins, every day’s a mandatory scrap-metal drive, so WW II’s hardly a relevant template.
McCain’s answer, then, was encouragingly blunt: “There are some programs we may have to eliminate.”
The federal budget has become a $2.9 trillion buffet with delicacies for everyone — the nonpartisan Tax Foundation last year estimated that 67% of American households are treated to more in government spending than they ever pay in taxes. If you’re talking shared sacrifice, the only realistic starting point is government spending.
Obama, meanwhile, said that maybe you should get a higher-mileage car. Any ex-Hummer dealer could tell you that most people did that without Obama’s help.
Then Obama went on to say this shared sacrifice would entail a tax cut for 95% of us.
Bluntly: No. First, it’s not a tax cut if you’re already paying nothing, net, to the feds, as 40% of households do. It’s a refundable credit, which means Uncle Sam takes money from someone else and gives it to you. The old-fashioned word for this is “welfare.”
More practically, you’re not going to get even that. The nonpartisan U.S. Budget Watch calculates that Obama has proposed $990 billion in new spending for his first term. The equally nonpartisan National Taxpayers Union pegs Obama’s promises at $293 billion a year, three times its estimate for McCain. None of this accounts for the cost of rescuing our economy. So, no, 95% of us won’t get a nicer cut of federal pelf. …
Continue reading on JSOnline, Sacrifice and big promises.