Sunday, August 17, 2008

John McCain defines "rich"

So last night there was this weird debate thingy hosted by Rick Warren (the guy who wrote The Purpose Driven Life) where both presidential candidates were asked identical questions. One of them was to define "rich". Obama gave a pretty competent answer about those making over $250,000 a year being in the top 3 or 4% of the population, and he went on to defend the use of tax money for things like roads and schools, reassuring everyone that those with incomes below $150,000 would actually see a tax cut in his administration, and that it was important to restore a sense of fairness in the tax code. Fair enough. But here's McCain's answer:

Some of the richest people I’ve ever known in my life are the most unhappy. I think that rich is — should be defined by a home, a good job and education and the ability to hand to our children a more prosperous and safer world than the one that we inherited. I don’t want to take any money from the rich. I want everybody to get rich. I don’t believe in class warfare or redistribution of the wealth. But I can tell you for example there are small businessmen and women who are working 16 hours a day, seven days a week that some people would classify as, quote, ‘rich,’ my friends, who want to raise their taxes and raise their payroll taxes. Let’s have — keep taxes low. Let’s give every family in America a $7,000 tax credit for every child they have. Let’s give them a $5,000 refundable tax credit to go out and get the health insurance of their choice. Let’s not have the government take over the health care system in America.

So I think if you’re just talking about income, how about $5 million. But seriously, I don’t think you can — I don’t think, seriously that - the point is that I’m trying to make here seriously - and I’m sure that comment will be distorted, but the point is - the point is - the point is that we want to keep people’s taxes low and increase revenues. And my friend, it was not taxes that mattered in America in the last several years. It was spending. Spending got completely out of control. We spent money in a way that mortgaged our kids futures. My friends, we spent $3 million of your money to study the DNA of bears in Montana. Now I don’t know if that was a paternity issue or a criminal issue, but the point is — but the point is it was $3 million of your money. It was your money.

And you know, we laugh about it, but we cry and we should cry because the Congress is supposed to be careful stewards of your tax dollars. so what did they just do in the middle of an energy crisis when in California we are paying $4 a gallon for gas, went on vacation for five weeks. I guarantee you, two things they never miss, a pay raise and a vacation. And we should stop that and call them back and not raise your taxes. We should not and cannot raise taxes in tough economic times. So it doesn’t matter really what my definition of rich is because I don’t want to raise anybody’s taxes.

Between all the incoherent rambling, John McCain did give us an answer: If you make $5 million a year, you're rich. And those poor souls who have to scrape by on $1 million a year? Not rich. Let's reiterate; John McCain just defined "rich" as making $5 million dollars a year. Shit, I half-expected he'd make a Dr. Evil mistake and say "one thooooousand dollars", given how out of touch he is on everything else, but this is even worse. Just imagine the attack ads that the Democrats could make of this!

"John McCain thinks people making millions of dollars a year aren't rich. And he wants to lower their taxes even more."

This stuff just writes itself.

As ridiculous as all that is, in the very next sentence, McCain made the same gaffe he did a while back, suggesting that he can somehow lower taxes but nevertheless increase tax revenues. John, it doesn't work that way! He is, again, confusing income taxes with capital gains taxes, and what he's saying isn't even true in that case.

Finally, he suggests that the problem over the past few years was not low taxes, but over-enthusiastic spending. It's true that spending was completely out of control with the Republican led Congress, but spending by itself doesn't cause deficits. What causes deficits is a shortfall between revenues and spending. To absolve the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy of all responsibility for the deficits is a very Republican thing to say, but it sure isn't very Mavericky.


Saskboy said...

He also pointed out that he wants people to take care of their own health insurance, not the state.

Desmond said...

Yes indeedy, it says so right on his website:

"John McCain Believes The Key To Health Care Reform Is To Restore Control To The Patients Themselves"

Which basically means giving people tax credits to help pay for HMOs that are still ridiculously unaffordable. How will he pay for this? The same way he'll pay for all his other proposals, the tax cuts that will magically and miraculously increase tax revenues. Whoever knew it was that easy?

Scruffy Dan said...

What ever happened to the straight talk express?