Monday, August 18, 2008

New McCain Commercial Attacks Obama’s Tax Proposal

A new commercial from the McCain camp titled “Taxman” recently hit television screens across the country to attach Obama’s new tax plan. Below is an embedded video of the commercial.

Thanks to the Associated Press, below is the script of the commercial as well as analysis from Douglass K. Daniel.

"Celebrity? Yes. Ready to lead? No. Obama's new taxes could break your family budget. The press warns the 'taxman cometh.' Obama's taxes mean 'higher prices at the pump.' Obama's taxes a 'recipe for economic disaster.' Higher taxes. Higher gas prices. Economic disaster. That's the real Obama."

“This terse ad is misleading because it targets a broad audience yet makes a key assertion — ‘Obama's new taxes could break your family budget’ — that at most applies only to a narrow group.

Previous ads from the McCain campaign have straddled and at times crossed the line of accuracy in criticizing Obama's policies. This ad bases most of its charges on newspaper editorials. Thus, by citing their opinions, the spot shifts the burden of accuracy from the McCain campaign to others in an effort to appear more credible.

The new ad contains a major caveat when it says Obama's new taxes ‘could’ break the family budget. That family, under the Obama plan, would have to be earning $250,000 or more a year to see its taxes rise. Nearly all those watching the ad would fall outside that group.

The phrase ‘taxman cometh’ appeared in a July 1 editorial in The Wall Street Journal that decried Obama's tax policies.

As presented in the McCain ad, the charge of higher gasoline prices is ambiguous. Obama hasn't suggested raising the federal tax on gasoline. The McCain campaign attributes the prospect of higher prices at the pump to analyses — the one cited in the ad came from a Washington Post editorial published Aug. 6 — that conclude that the costs of Obama's proposed windfalls profit tax on the record earnings of oil companies would eventually be passed on to consumers.

That Obama's plan is a ‘recipe for disaster’ is the opinion of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, which criticized Obama in an editorial published Sept. 20, 2007. It said he sought to raise the tax rate on the top income bracket from 35 percent to 39.6 percent, nearly double the tax rate on capital gains and dividends, and eliminate all tax breaks for the gas and oil industries and private equity firm managers.

When the editorial appeared last fall it was unclear how much of an increase in the capital gains tax Obama favored. On Thursday, Obama's economic advisers said the tax rate would increase to 20 percent, not to nearly 30 percent, and again only for those earning $250,000 or more. The advisers also said Obama would indeed seek rates for the top two income tax brackets at 36 and 39.6 percent to match the levels of the 1990s. All other brackets would remain at today's rates, they said.

To the charge of ‘economic disaster,’ Obama's advisers would probably point to the relative prosperity of the 1990s, the era whose tax rates they seek to return to. McCain rejects allowing the Bush administration tax cuts to expire on schedule, saying that would result in higher taxes. Obama counters that the Bush tax cuts favored the wealthy to begin with.”

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