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McCain Campaign Press Release - John McCain's Economic Plan

April 15, 2008

Today In Pennsylvania, John McCain Outlined A Pro-Growth, Pro-Jobs Strategy To Get Our Economy Back On Track. John McCain's strategy includes taking the near-term actions needed to provide immediate help to American families while also taking the longer-term steps necessary to secure America's economic prosperity and leadership in the world.


Across America, families are facing economic challenges. Gas prices are rising, mortgages are threatened, and thousands have lost their jobs. Now is the time to act and John McCain has outlined several near-term, tangible plans to address some of the challenges confronting Americans today

Helping Americans Confront Higher Living Costs:

John McCain Will Help Americans Hurting From High Gasoline And Food Costs. Americans need relief right now from high gas prices. John McCain will act immediately to reduce the pain of high gas prices.

  • John McCain Believes We Should Institute A Summer Gas Tax Holiday. Hard-working American families are suffering from higher gasoline prices. John McCain calls on Congress to suspend the 18.4 cent federal gas tax and 24.4 cent diesel tax from Memorial Day to Labor Day.
  • John McCain Will Stop Filling The Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) To Reduce Demand. International demand for oil is bolstered by federal purchases for the SPR. There is no reason to fill it when oil is so expensive, the overall SPR is of adequate size, and when it places further upward pressure on prices.
  • John McCain Will End Policies That Contribute To Higher Transportation And Food Costs. Ethanol subsidies, tariff barriers and sugar quotas drive up food prices and hurt Americans. However, we cannot take the wrong direction and cut off trade for American goods.

Helping Americans With The Housing Crisis:

John McCain Is Proposing A New "HOME Plan" To Provide Robust, Timely And Targeted Help To Those Hurt By The Housing Crisis. Under his HOME Plan, every deserving American family or homeowner will be afforded the opportunity to trade a burdensome mortgage for a manageable loan that reflects their home's market value.

  • Eligibility: Holders of a non-conventional mortgage taken after 2005 who live in their home (primary residence only); can prove creditworthiness at the time of the original loan; are either delinquent, in arrears on payments, facing a reset or otherwise demonstrate that they will be unable to continue to meet their mortgage obligations; and can meet the terms of a new 30 year fixed-rate mortgage on the existing home.
  • How It Works: Individuals pick up a form at any Post Office and applies for a HOME loan. The FHA HOME Office certifies that the individual is qualified and contacts the individual's mortgage servicer. The mortgage servicer writes down and retires the existing loan, which is replaced by an FHA guaranteed HOME loan from a lender.

John McCain Calls For The Immediate Formation Of A Justice Department Mortgage Abuse Task Force. The Task Force will aggressively investigate potential criminal wrongdoing in the mortgage industry and bring to justice any who violated the law. The DOJ Task Force will offer assistance to State Attorney Generals who are investigating abusive lending practices.

Keeping The Credit Crunch From Hurting College Students:

John McCain Is Proposing A Student Loan Continuity Plan. Students face the possibility that the credit crunch will disrupt loans for the fall semester. John McCain calls on the federal government and the 50 governors to anticipate loan problems and expand the lender-of-last resort capabilities for each state's guarantee agency.



John McCain believes taxes should be low, simple, and fair and has a track record of commitment to these principles.

Cutting Taxes For The Middle Class:

John McCain Will Cut Taxes For Middle Class Families. John McCain will permanently repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) -- a tax that will be paid nearly exclusively by 25 million middle class families. Repealing this onerous tax will save middle class families nearly $60 billion in a single year. Under McCain's plan, a middle class family with children set to pay the AMT will save an average of over $2,700 -- a real tax cut for working families.

John McCain Will Double The Personal Exemption For Dependents. John McCain believes the tax code should be less of a burden on those, whether they are mothers and fathers or single parents, who are trying to raise a family. He proposes to raise the personal exemption for each dependent from $3,500 to $7,000.

Pro-Growth Tax Policy:

John McCain Will Keep Tax Rates Low. Entrepreneurs are at the heart of American innovation, growth and prosperity. They create the ultimate job security -- a new, better opportunity if your current job goes away. Entrepreneurs should not be taxed into submission. John McCain will maintain the current income and investment tax rates and fight the Democrats' plans for a crippling tax increase in 2011. Left to their devices, Democrats will impose a massive $100 billion tax hike, almost $700 per taxpayer every year. John McCain has also long sought permanent and immediate reform of the estate tax, and supports raising the exemption from taxation on estates up to $10 million while cutting the tax rate to 15 percent.

John McCain Will Make It Harder To Raise Taxes. John McCain believes it should require a 3/5 majority vote in Congress to raise taxes.

John McCain Will Reward Saving, Investment And Risk-Taking. Low taxes on dividends and capital gains promote saving, channel investment dollars to innovative, high-value uses and not wasteful financial planning. John McCain will keep the current rates on dividends and capital gains and fight anti-growth efforts by Democrats.

John McCain Will Improve Business Investment Incentives. John McCain proposes to permit corporations to immediately deduct the cost of equipment investment, providing a valuable pro-growth investment incentive. Expensing of equipment and technology will provide an immediate boost to capital expenditures and reward investments in cutting-edge technologies.

Tax Cuts On American Employers:

John McCain Will Reduce The Federal Corporate Tax Rate To 25 Percent From 35 Percent. John McCain believes the taxes we impose on American companies should be no higher than the average rate our major trading partners impose on theirs. We currently have the second-highest combined corporate-tax rate in the industrialized world, and it is driving many businesses and the jobs they create overseas.

Pro-Innovation Tax Cuts:

John McCain Will Ban Internet Taxes. John McCain has been a leader in keeping the Internet free of taxes. As President, he will seek a permanent ban on taxes that threaten this engine of economic growth and prosperity.

John McCain Will Ban New Cell Phone Taxes. John McCain understands that the same people that would tax e-mail will tax every text message -- and even 911 calls. John McCain will prohibit new cellular telephone taxes.

John McCain Will Establish Permanent Tax Credit Equal To 10 Percent Of Wages Spent On R&D. This reform will simplify the tax code, reward activity in the U.S., and make us more competitive with other countries. A permanent credit will provide an incentive to innovate and remove uncertainty. At a time when our companies need to be more competitive, we need to provide a permanent incentive to innovate, and remove the uncertainty now hanging over businesses as they make R&D investment decisions.

Retirement Tax Cut:

John McCain Will Act To Lower Medicare Premiums. Seniors face a growing threat from higher Medicare premiums that tax away their Social Security and retirement savings. John McCain has proposed comprehensive, pro-market health care and Medicare reforms to reduce health care costs and control increases in premiums -- while delivering high-quality health care.

A Real Choice For Simpler Taxes:

John McCain Will Propose An Alternative New And Simpler Tax System -- And Give America A Real Choice. When this reform is enacted, all who wish to stay under the current system could still do so, but everyone else could choose a vastly less complicated system with two tax rates and a generous standard deduction. Americans do not resent paying their rightful share of taxes -- what they do resent is being subjected to thousands of pages of needless and often irrational rules and demands from the IRS.


Wasteful spending in Washington has gone from irresponsible to indefensible. Right now, even the government reports that one-fifth of programs are receiving failing marks. John McCain will restore the trust that Americans have lost in their government spending their hard earned money wisely.

Eliminating Wasteful Spending:

John McCain Will Stop Earmarks, Pork-Barrel Spending, And Waste. He will veto every pork-laden spending bill and make their authors famous. As President, he will seek the line-item veto to reduce waste and eliminate earmarks that have led to corruption. Unlike Senators Clinton and Obama who have sought a nearly combined $3 billion in earmarks, John McCain has a clear record of not asking for earmarks. Earmarks restrict America's ability to address genuine national priorities and interfere with fair, competitive markets.

John McCain Proposes A One-Year Spending Pause To Evaluate Programs. HeHeHe believes that outside of essential military and veterans programs there should be a one-year discretionary spending pause that should be used for a top-to-bottom review of the effectiveness of federal programs.

John McCain Has The Leadership And Courage To Make The Right Spending Choices. Reduced spending means making choices. John McCain will not leave office without balancing the federal budget. He will not do it with smoke and mirrors. When he leaves office, he wants to leave a budget that stays balanced after he is gone, and can weather the occasional downturn and unexpected contingency. John McCain will provide the courageous leadership necessary to control spending, including:

  • Eliminate Broken Government Programs. The federal government itself admits that one in five programs do not perform.
  • Reform Our Civil Service System To Promote Accountability And Good Performance In Our Federal Workforce.
  • Eliminating Earmarks, Wasteful Subsidies And Pork-Barrel Spending.
  • Reform Procurement Programs And Cut Wasteful Spending In Defense And Non-Defense Programs.

Budgetary Reform To Give Tax Cuts A Fair Chance:

John McCain Will Reform Budgeting To Treat Equally Spending And Taxes And To Stop Damaging Tax Hikes. Congress has unfairly stacked the deck to spend more and raise taxes. If a spending program is on the books, budgets assume that it is on the books forever -- and continues to grow -- even if the law says it expires. If low taxes are on the books, budgets don't assume that they last forever. When they expire, those taxes are automatically raised.

Reforming Entitlement Programs For The 21st Century:

John McCain Will Reform Social Security. He will fight to save the future of Social Security while meeting our obligations to the retirees of today and the future without raising taxes. John McCain supports supplementing the current Social Security system with personal accounts -- but not as a substitute for addressing benefit promises that cannot be kept. He will reach across the aisle, but if the Democrats do not act, he will. John McCain will not leave office without fixing the problems that threatens our future prosperity.

John McCain Will Act To Control Medicare Growth. The growth of spending on Medicare threatens our fiscal future. John McCain has proposed comprehensive health care reforms that will reduce the growth in Medicare spending, protect seniors against rising Medicare premium payments, and preserve the advancements in medical science central to providing quality care.

John McCain Believes That We Should Not Subsidize The Prescription Drugs Of America's Most Affluent Individuals. He will propose reforms to reduce the large subsidies in the Medicare drug program.


John McCain believes that global trade is an opportunity for American workers today and in the future.

John McCain Will Lower Barriers To Trade. Ninety-five percent of the world's customers lie outside our borders and we need to be at the table when the rules for access to those markets are written. To do so, the U.S. should engage in multilateral, regional and bilateral efforts to reduce barriers to trade, level the global playing field and build effective enforcement of global trading rules. These steps would also strengthen the U.S. dollar and help to control the rising cost of living that hurts our families.

John McCain Will Act To Make American Workers More Competitive. We must prepare the next generation of workers by making American education worthy of the promise we make to our children and ourselves. We must be a nation committed to competitiveness and opportunity. We must fight for the ability of all students to have access to any school of demonstrated excellence. We must place parents and children at the center of the education process, empowering parents by greatly expanding the ability of parents to choose among schools for their children.


Job security may well be the most pressing problem confronting Americans. Jobs are in jeopardy and the government backstop is not up to the task. For more than a year, John McCain has been calling for comprehensive reform of our unemployment insurance and displaced worker programs.

Reforming The Unemployment Insurance (UI) System:

John McCain Believes We Should Have A Single, Seamless Approach To Job Transition Assistance. The UI system must be more effective in helping those who have lost a job. John McCainwill modernize and transform our current programs by consolidating redundant federal programs, strengthening community colleges and technical training and giving displaced workers more choices to find their way back to productive and prosperous lives.

John McCain Will Reform The UI System So That A Portion Of Each Worker's Unemployment Insurance Tax Is Deposited Into A Lost Earnings Buffer Account (LEB). If an individual becomes unemployed, the LEB may be used to cover needed expenses, with a backstop of traditional UI if the account is exhausted before 26 weeks. Workers will have an incentive to preserve their LEB by getting back to work quickly, and may be eligible for a re-employment bonus if they get a new job quickly. The LEB will be portable, and upon retirement, the property of the worker.

John McCain Will Reform Training Programs To Provide Quick Assistance To Workers Seeking New Skills. Workers will have access to a flexible training account that permits them to pay for training at a community college and use leftover funds to keep their health insurance.

John McCain Will Provide Special, Targeted Assistance For Older Workers. Because training is often inefficient for older workers, those 55 years of age and older who have built up an LEB will be eligible for a Lost Earnings Supplement. The supplement of up to 50 percent of their earnings loss (up to a maximum of $10,000) for two years will be rewarded for those who find work inside 26 weeks.


John McCain is willing to address the fundamental problem: the rapidly rising cost of U.S. health care.

John McCain Proposes Comprehensive Health Care Reform. John McCain believes health care reform should address the rising costs that threaten families' budgets, business competitiveness, and government programs by making the entire system responsive to the needs of American families. Families should receive quality, accountable care at lower costs by harnessing market competition


John McCain will deliver a national energy strategy that declares independence from the risk bred by our reliance on oil imported from petro-dictators and the vulnerability to the troubled politics of their lands.

John McCain Will Propose A National Strategy For Energy Security. John McCain is a proven conservative, and his strategy will not rely on subsidies, rifle-shot tax breaks, line-items for lobbyists, or big-government debacles. It will promote the diversification and conservation of our energy sources and substantially reduce the impact of our energy consumption on the planet. It will rely on the genius and technological prowess of American industry and science.

John McCain, McCain Campaign Press Release - John McCain's Economic Plan Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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