Saturday, November 01, 2008

Thoughts on Wealth Spreading

I found this interesting, from Michael Kinsley in Time:

Seven years ago, as Brokaw pointed out, McCain himself was sounding redistributionist, complaining about President Bush's tax cuts. Campaigning against Bush in 2000, he said that "when you ... reach a certain level of comfort, there's nothing wrong with paying somewhat more." Obama has said no more than this, except to set the "level of comfort" at $250,000, which is pretty comfortable. McCain is free to argue that Obama will raise taxes on people making less than $250,000. My bet is that whoever wins the election will be forced to. But his apparent belief that the very expression "spread the wealth" puts Obama beyond the pale is so out of touch that it's almost touching. It belongs on the golf courses of Arizona, not on the campaign trail.

Uh huh. For the record, let's look back to what McCain actually said when he voted against the Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003:

In 2001, just days before Bush's first tax cut passed, McCain lamented on ABC's "This Week" that, "I'd like to see much more of this tax cut shared by working Americans. . . . I think it still devotes too much of it to the wealthiest Americans."

And this:

Most of the economists view this as primarily benefiting wealthier Americans," McCain said on CNBC at the time. "There's a theory, I think, that's prevalent -- it was true in the 2001 tax cuts -- that if you give it to the wealthy people, then they will then, you know, create jobs, et cetera. The interesting thing to me is that most economists will tell you that it's the middle-income Americans that have been keeping the economy afloat."

Now look, people change their minds all the time, and it's clear that McCain has changed his mind on the Bush tax cuts. The debate on tax policy is one we still ought to have, but what vexes me is that Obama has basically made the same argument McCain did at the time, against the Bush tax cuts, and he's being called a socialist for it.

No comments: