Today, John McCain is in New Hampshire, saying things like this:
Mr. McCain once again homed in on economic issues. He criticized Senator Barack Obama’s plan to raise taxes on Americans with more than $250,000 in taxable income, saying the Democratic nominee’s economic plans would hurt small businesses, weaken the dollar and widen the federal deficit.
He said Mr. Obama’s promises to cut taxes for 95 percent of Americans would amount to “just another government giveaway” for lower income Americans who pay little or no income taxes. Mr. McCain said he would reduce taxes on businesses and capital gains and increase the child tax credit.
“My tax cut is the real thing,” Mr. McCain said.
So here is the new line: Tax cuts proposed by a Democrat are another government giveaway, but tax cuts proposed by Republicans are sound fiscal policy. Dear reader, do I even have to point out how little sense that actually makes? Both candidates are proposing tax cuts for more or less the same group of people, with McCain erring towards benefiting the wealthy and corporations, and Obama giving more to those on the lower end of the spectrum. Those who pay little or no income taxes still pony up for payroll taxes, and John McCain would also offer them $5,000 in tax credit refunds as part of his health care plan. Neither plan will be beneficial for the federal deficit -- though I think we've covered why that doesn't matter -- and Obama's plan won't hurt small businesses any more than McCain's will. Consider the example of Joe the Plumber, whose taxes will not be raised under the Obama plan. I'm not sure why McCain thinks that Obama's cuts will weaken the dollar and his won't, but I'll look into it.
Luckily for the American people, the same sagacity that McCain deployed to help us tell the real America (Western Pennsylvania, not northern Virginia) from the fake America (everywhere else?) will now allow us to understand the difference between the real tax cuts (McCain's) and the fake kind (Obama's).
UPDATE: Steve Benen reminds us that in 2000 ...
... McCain defended the progressive tax system when questioned by a town
hall participant who warned that the high tax bracket of her father --
a doctor -- smacked of an inching towards "socialism and stuff." McCain
said that progressive tax systems are based on the fact that "we feel,
obviously, that wealthy people can afford more." He spelled out this
response: "Here's what I really believe, that when you are -- reach a
certain level of comfort, there's nothing wrong with paying somewhat
-- Tim Fernholz
P.S. That Times article refers to NH as friendly territory for McCain. That dog don't hunt!