Obama’s tax plan deserves scrutiny

Published 10:00 pm Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The stakes are high for Sen. John McCain in tonight’s final debate.

With the GOP presidential nominee trailing Democratic nominee Sen. Barack Obama in most national polls, and only 20 days until the general election, the pressure is on for McCain.

He must, somehow, convince Americans that he is the more effective leader; that his are the sounder platforms; that he is still the maverick who seeks the greater good and is unafraid of challenging the political status quo. He must overcome the challenges of personality and Obama’s easy-going confidence. McCain must focus on the issues at hand, highlighting the differences between his platform and Obama’s – differences that when studied are enough to frighten any middle-class American.

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Take, for instance, Obama’s much-hyped tax package. He has campaigned on a platform of a tax cut for no less than 95 percent of the “working families” in America, glossing over the reality that he’ll also impose one of the largest tax increases ever on the remaining 5 percent of Americans.

Even more frightening are the details of his plan, brought to light this week in an article by the Wall Street Journal. Obama’s plan includes tens of billions of dollars in tax credits, from a $500 “make work pay” credit to a $4,000 tuition tax credit to a $7,000 tax credit for purchasing certain “clean” vehicles.

But the catch – and it’s hidden in the fine print of Obama’s plan – is that these tax credits are “refundable,” which means even if an American has no tax liability, he or she could still earn the tax credit. That’s right, our government could be sending out millions of dollars each year in “tax credit” refunds to individuals who may not work or may not have any tax liability.

As the WSJ put it: “In other words, they are an income transfer – a federal check – from taxpayers to nontaxpayers. Once upon a time we called this ‘welfare.’”

And you can imagine what growing the “income transfer” system will do to our nation and its economy over time.

Every American – young or old, middle-age or middle-class – needs to look past the charm and charisma of Obama and the hype of “change” to study the real issues at stake here. “Change” in Obama-speak could well be a fundamental shift in the foundation of our democracy and our economy. And, is that really what we want?

That’s the discussion John McCain needs to be having with Americans tonight, and moving forward.

And, that’s the question each of us must ask before we cast our votes in November.