October 14th, 2008
11:33 AM ET
5 years ago

McCain plugs tax cuts in Pennsylvania

BLUE BELL, Pennsylvania (CNN) - John McCain unveiled his $52 billion economic package Tuesday - a mix of new initiatives and older proposals - and told Pennsylvania voters that Barack Obama was a risky choice.

Listen: McCain adviser explains the new plan

"I will help to create jobs for Americans in the most effective way a president can do this - with tax cuts that are directed specifically to create jobs and protect your life savings," said McCain at a rally in Blue Bell, Pennsylvania.

Most of the new proposals featured a GOP favorite economic tool, the tax cut. McCain proposed cutting the tax rate for withdrawals from retirement accounts to 10 percent, cutting the capital gains tax on stocks purchased and held for more than a year, eliminating taxes on unemployment benefits, and increasing the amount of capital losses from $3,000 to $15,000 which could be deducted from in come in tax years 2008 and 2009.

The plan also featured a guarantee of all savings accounts for a period of six months.

Many of the measures hold major appeal for seniors, a key voting bloc. Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s largest senior populations.

“Retirees have suffered enough and need relief, and the surest relief is to let them keep more of their own savings,” said McCain. While the McCain campaign was very specific about the costs of the plan, economic adviser Doug Holtz-Eakin told CNN’s Dana Bash that where McCain would get the $52 billion to pay for it was not specified in the proposal.

The Obama campaign posted an online tax calculator that made the case to voters that the Democratic nominee’s plan would trim their tax bill. The Republican National Committee responded with a spend-o-meter stressing the cost of Obama’s proposals.

“Perhaps never before in history have the American people been asked to risk so much based on so little,” McCain said about Obama.

“You can look at the record of what he's done or you can just go with your gut, but either way you're left with the same conclusion: Senator Obama is going to raise your taxes. And in this economy, raising taxes is the surest way to turn a recession into a depression.”

McCain did not address the administration’s plan to invest in some of the country’s major banks in his speech, but did field questions on it during local interviews.

“I think it’s a bad idea, but I think it is something that has to be done in this period of crisis,” said the Arizona senator. “As soon as the economy stabilizes and starts growing again the government should get out of the banking business as quickly as possible.”

McCain is behind in polls in Pennsylvania, but the state’s Montgomery County has a relatively even number of registered Republicans and Democrats. Still, the residents of this suburban Philadelphia county have supported the Democratic candidate for president in the past four elections.

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