June 17th, 2008
03:00 PM ET
14 years ago

Blitzer: McCain, Obama worlds apart on taxes

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.blitzeriowa.cnn.jpg caption="Blitzer: Obama, McCain are at odds over tax policy."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - When it comes to tax policy, John McCain and Barack Obama have very different views.

Take the matter of corporate tax rates. McCain wants to reduce that rate. He says that would make American companies more competitive around the world since the U.S. has one of the highest corporate rates. He notes that Ireland used to be an economic basket case until it reduced its corporate rates. As a result, investors from around the world began to flock to Ireland for business deals. That created lots of jobs in Ireland, which now has a strong economy.

Obama wants a windfall profits tax on Exxon-Mobil and the other big oil companies. They have been making record profits as the price of oil has skyrocketed. According to recent polls, most Americans blame big oil for their pain at the pump. McCain opposes such a windfall profits tax. But he goes one step further. Under McCain’s proposed corporate tax rate cut, Exxon-Mobil and other big oil companies would have even larger profits. That’s because McCain has no exemption for the big oil companies.

This is but one tax issue on the table right now. The two presidential candidates disagree on several others. Obama has proposed a $1,000 tax cut for middle class workers.

But the big issue for both will be whether to roll back the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003. McCain originally voted against them but now supports them. Obama wants the Bush tax cuts for those making more than $250,000 a year eliminated. He wants to go back to the tax rates that existed during the Clinton administration. This will be a huge fight in the campaign.


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Jim from IL

    At least they are both better than Hillary. Hillary is getting ready to start campaigning for Obama and she will be the new Obama Girl!

    June 17, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    About taxes check this out!

    A detailed analysis of the candidates' tax plans confirms one of Barack Obama's top arguments against John McCain: the Arizona senator's proposals would offer substantial benefits to wealthy Americans.

    An analysis of both campaigns proposals by the Washington-based, nonpartisan Tax Policy Center found that for people with incomes between $66,354 and $111,645, Obama's proposals would cut their taxes by more than $1000, compared to around $300 under McCain's plan. But for Americans with incomes above $603,402, Obama would raise their taxes dramatically, by more than $115,000 a year, while McCain would cut them by $45,000.

    "The Obama tax plan would make the tax system significantly more progressive by providing large tax breaks to those at the bottom of the income scale and raising taxes significantly on upper-income earners," the group concludes. "The McCain tax plan would make the tax system more regressive.... It would do so by providing relatively little tax relief to those at the bottom of the income scale while providing huge tax cuts to households at the very top of the income distribution."

    if you maske over 150,000 Mcain is your man

    June 17, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Brian Knoxville, TN

    I love obama! do whatever you need to, to put more money in my pocket!

    OBAMA!

    June 17, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Jayson

    Yes they are since Obama believes that the rich are piggie banks for the government and that being rich entitles you to be part of a higher tax bracket and pay a larger percentage of your income to the government.

    June 17, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  5. COL.{retd]A.M.Khajawall

    Dear American Voters, reporters and political professionals,

    Hon. Senator McCain and Obama, besides each having many attributes and characteristics. The critical differences between the two of these presidential presumptive nominees are as under:

    1. Presidential "Temperament and Composer".
    2. Little Washington "insider Versus outsider" experience.
    3. "Vision and mission" for our nation future rather than past.
    4. American policies, " first U.S.A Centric" than any other country [ ies ] centric.

    In my professional opinion Senator Obama leads in all above qualities.

    The need of our next movement and generation is a change. The Change in " past Washington and its Leadership". A change we can believe in and not the seductive, deceptive, and confusing slogan of "leader we can believe in" [? Effexor ?".

    Our Greatgrand Nation has to address many present and future challenges and start with new clean "Slate and Senator".

    God Bless America. its diverse people, and our Greatgrand Nation.

    Our Greatgrand Nation is needs the CHANGE at every level and for long time.

    I am sure Senator Obama with the help of Senator Clinton and her supporters, can deliver that CHANGE.

    Please stay involved, stay engaged, and stay informed. Please do not allow any seduction, deception, and or confusion by some partisan media and leaders effect your vote [ Psychological Terrorism ]..

    Yours truly,

    COL. [retd] A.M.Khajawall
    Disabled American Veteran
    Forensic psychiatrist, Las Vegas

    PS: Please talk about the " Presidential Temperament And Caliber " of our presumptive presidential Nominees. Thanks.

    June 17, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. MLG

    Go McCain. If we tax our big coporation we will lose. They will pull up out of here.

    June 17, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. What if?

    TO: Brian Knoxville, TN June 17th, 2008 4:13 pm ET
    I love obama! do whatever you need to, to put more money in my pocket! OBAMA!

    I SECOND THAT!!!!!

    June 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Enlightened Voter

    Yeah john mcwar, keep putting more money into the rich cause they are not rich enough.... Your repulsive republicans strategy of 'trickle down' never quite made it into our pockets and how you continue to justify those gwb tax cuts is criminal.

    June 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  9. jim

    John McCain will say "read my lips, no new taxes."
    But are we stupid enough to believe it? No.
    Rather than continually spending on a credit card like the Bush Toolbox has been doing for the past seven years, let's tax and spend.
    We're already Trillions in debt thanks to this unconstitutional war.
    A war which McBush supports fully. A war he wants to fight until he's 172 years old.
    McCain is the worst possible thing that could ever happen to this great nation.
    Please vote Obama. Let's change direction. Change isn't free.

    June 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. BROOKLYN

    Neither candidate has a good, solid plan and both are simply making promises they can not keep...

    This seems to be a game of "Politics as Usual"... Was I not led to believe that that was going to "Change"? It does not look like it...

    June 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  11. Hillary Clinton

    For goodness sake, vote for my friend, John McCain. Anyone is better than Obama. Believe me, I've seen the skeletons. It's not pretty.

    June 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  12. Puzzled

    Here's the real difference: Obama wants to try everything that has failed in the past and, in fact, created unintended consequences. Sounds like the leanings of a lecturer in constitutional law.

    June 17, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Yeah, the big fight could be the Bush tax cuts.

    I think McCain's weak talking point is eliminating the AMT tax entirely. Combine that with keeping the Bush tax cuts and you are looking a over $1 Trillion off cost over 10 years. A cost that would go towards the national debt unless McCain comes up with a plan to pay for it.

    I think Obama weak talking point is windfall profits tax on oil companies. I recall it not working out under Carter and Nixon. His proposals would also slow down and minimize the economy's downtrend, but at the cost of extending the length of the trend.

    June 17, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. Vote Nader

    When will people understand that "Big Oil" profits are due to volume of sales and not gross margin? Why does nobody get pissed when Google puts out their annual report?

    Do you think your latte is costing Starbucks $3? Guess what, you're paying them more profit for 12oz of milk and coffee than you are to "Big Oil" for a couple gallons of gasoline.

    ** Nader/Gonzalez 2008 **

    June 17, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It is a question of who does a better job. It is also a question of what the goals and priorities are. How do the corporation give back to the country and the communities that they work in? Often times, they don't give back at all or very little.

    This government was supposed to be "by the people, of the people and for the people." It often looks like that there is little of that. I often see it as corporations trying to get away with as much as they can not caring who they hurt.

    June 17, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  16. Ed, NC

    Does Obama not realize that eliminating tax breaks for the wealthy will cause jobs to be lost? It is the wealthy who invest and create jobs.

    June 17, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  17. Ray Ito

    Why should big oil companies make bigger profits even more than as it is right now? Does McCain have shares in those companies?
    This is just insane – McSame!

    June 17, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Cyrus - NY

    We are going to need as much tax revenue as possible to get out of our national debt. The Bush administration has been running this country by "swiping the plastic" in China, but it is time that we take care of our own debt, build infrastructure, rebuild places like New Orleans and Iowa.

    Anyone who says that increasing corporate tax would make large corporations to just pull out of our economy and move elsewhere, or either out of touch or have no idea how either taxation (both here and abroad) or business relocation works. Corporations get tax benefits for relocating to underdeveloped neighborhoods in the U.S. They can also defer taxes for many years. Secondly, if corporations go elsewhere, they will be taxed twice, both in home country and the new country.

    Just my two cents!

    June 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Bitter - New Orleans, LA

    Don't let Obama fool you with his raising taxes on just the wealthy farce.

    Everyone social program that he wants to implement will be a veiled tax on everyone. From carbon cap and trade to universal healthcare.

    Taxing the rich and corporate america even more is sure to drive their business overseas even more. When they go, so do the jobs and the economy with it.

    Taxing hardwork and success is a sure way to kill that hardwork and success. It's better known as the welfare or nanny state and it's just not sustainable.

    June 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. Will in Richmond, VA

    I'm in favor of lower taxes too. I'm also in favor of a level economic and educational playing field for all Americans.

    If more of the money that the wealthiest corporations and people trickled down to the least of us, the better we will all be. A lot of the problem seems to be that the money stays at the top, prices keep increasing, while salaries remain stagnant. Personally the greatest reform that could be made is a greater emphasis on financial education at the junior high school level.

    Obama's education credit idea is one of the best I've ever heard, BTW. Higher educated population means better jobs, meaning more money, greater tax-base and more community thinkers.

    June 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Proud American

    Simple... one gives to the top 2% (McCain) while the other gives to the bottom 98% (Obama). The top have had 8 years of riding on our backs. Time for a change.

    June 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. Charlie

    Ed what country did you come from, the wealthy do not create jobs they save money.

    June 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. Brian Knoxville, TN

    Not again... yet another Obamabot has weaseled off with my name—Brian Knoxville, TN—and has been using it to undermine my right to express myself fairly in our political system…

    Is this really it, Axelrod? You really can't think of a better way to undermine my voice than to instruct one of your Obamabots to use my name and say the exact opposite of what I know to be true about your sleazy, selected and unqualified wanna be presidential candidate? What, Axelrod, no better ideas, no threats to silence my voice the way you have threatened others?

    Now I really am disappointed in you…

    And I thought I was disappointed in you before, when you abused our democratic system in order to help Obama sleaze of with delegates from caucus states and then blocked the possibility for new primaries in Michigan.

    Well, seeing that this is the best you got, it looks like it'll be easier to stop you than I thought.

    The Chosen One won’t win in November and solidify his hostile takeover of my party and the party of millions of true Democrats.

    Believe that.

    Count on it.

    Puma Democrat, true Democrat and future of the Democratic Party

    June 17, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  24. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    If you are tracking everything Obama is promising, the only way he can pay for it all is to raise ALL of our taxes. Either he'll not do most of what he says he will, or we are all going to be joining the socialist world.

    June 17, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  25. Catty

    "Change isn't free"

    That is the dumbest thing I've ever heard. By taxing big companies, it's only giving MORE incentives to close up shop and go somewhere else! BIG COMPANIES EMPLOY AMERICA!! Not government! BIG COMPANIES FUND RETIREMENT!! Not government!

    So before you go whining that Big oil needs more taxes (I guess their 8.5% profit margin is just too high, although hedge funds are at about 82%) realize that their profitibility and revenues are funding your retirement, they're employing you and your kids, and they're the reason this economy is still afloat!

    And Mr. "Change isn't free" go read up on a few founding fathers who would disagree, i.e George Washington, John Adams, and Thomas Jefferson!

    June 17, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
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