John McCain continues to explain his economic philosophy and round out his program, and the picture he draws of a serious tax-cutting fiscal conservative contrasts starkly with the high-tax, redistributive, big spending liberals running in the other party.
In addition to his previously announced pro-growth policies of cutting the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, and phasing out the Alternative Minimum Tax completely, Senator McCain announced a good next step to help families now with rising energy prices: Suspending the federal gas tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
Suspending the federal gas tax would be a most effective measure to help families today, but it’s only a first step. Senator McCain should propose repealing the tax outright and getting the federal government out of the highway construction business altogether. There’s no reason at this point to send highway dollars to Washington just so Members of Congress can have a big kitty to draw from when sending highway dollars back to the states.
In the past, Senator McCain has sometimes erred in opposing tax cuts because they weren’t accompanied by spending cuts. Combining spending cuts with tax cuts is generally the sounder approach, and so it’s not surprising he has significant and credible proposals to slow spending growth such as freezing non-defense appropriations and asking well-off seniors to cover more of the costs of their Medicare drug benefit. And he continues to be the only candidate who would end spending earmarks cold. While this is a good start, Senator McCain should plan to provide more specific targets for spending reform, especially in entitlements.