NOT BUYING THE POPULIST RHETORIC.

It was refreshing to see The Washington Post point out today that John McCain's so-called "plan for the working class" consists mostly of benefits for corporations and the rich. The speech he gave yesterday – the most comprehensive outline of his economic policy thus far – was centered on plans that do little to help the working class: eliminating the alternative minimum tax, cutting corporate income tax rates from 35 to 25 percent, allowing businesses to write off new equipment, banning internet and cell phone taxes and creating a permanent tax credit for research and development. He also threw in an ambiguous line about closing the "myriad corporate tax loopholes that are costly, unfair and inconsistent with a free-market economy," and has of course promised to make Bush's tax cuts permanent, despite the fact that he once opposed them.

Though he pitched eliminating the alternative minimum tax as a "middle-class tax cut," what he defines as middle class is at best a stretch of the term. Ninety-three percent of the 4 million taxpayers that pay the alternative minimum tax earn between $200,000 and $1 million. This brings the sum total of his plans to help working class Americans down to his proposed "gas tax holiday," which as Dana noted, creates more problems than it solves. The Post piece goes on to detail other ways McCain's economic policy is just a rehashing of Bush's. It's heartening to see that the Post isn't buying McCain's populist rhetoric on economic issues since there's nothing populist about his actual plan. Simply labeling it a "plan for the working class" doesn't make it so.

--Kate Sheppard

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