Please note: This is a post I made on another blog prior to the election, explaining my views on fiscal responsibility and the candidates. It is not an endorsement for any candidate, but merely a comparison between the two leading ones:
According to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center and other independent, nonpartisan organizations, both Barack Obama and John McCain will increase deficit spending. That is to say, both will be spending more than they earn in revenues. This, of course, is fiscally irresponsible. The government (and the American people), for a long time now, has been living beyond their means. This sounds cliché, but it’s undeniable. We’ve reached unprecedented deficit spending. The United States has an astounding $10 trillion national debt. We are a nation of negative savings. Our largest export is debt. An honest politician would have to tell the American people we’re going to have to start cutting back on some things (if not many things); that the life we’ve become accustomed to over the years is simply not sustainable.
This is where taxes come in. As a libertarian, I naturally argue for lower taxes. No income taxes–what a person earns is theirs to keep and spend as they please–is an ideal tax policy. But we cannot forget we’re living in reality. Most politicians, naturally, do not like to be honest. Instead, they promise us guns and butter. Their argument is that our way of life is sustainable–even necessary. Keeping this in mind, keeping the candidates’ promises in mind, we ought to consider whose tax plan is most responsible.
Obama has made his plan abundantly clear: a tax cut for 95% of working Americans, and a tax increase for families earning more than $250,000 or for individuals earning $200,000 or more. Obama’s plan would give 80% of Americans a bigger tax cut than McCain’s plan. Yet, as noted in the opening of this post, Obama’s plan to raise taxes on some individuals would not be sufficient to pay for all of his proposed expenditures, which are ambitious.
On the other hand, McCain has promised to eliminate earmarks from the budget and make whoever proposes them (in)famous. Unfortunately for McCain, this accounts for less than $20 billion of the budget. Yet, McCain still proposes huge government expenditures, a large proportion of which is explained by our military adventurism and McCain’s steadfast support for it. In addition, McCain is supporting tax cuts on top of all of this. The once anti-Bush tax cut maverick who opposed Bush’s tax proposals “because of the disproportional amount that went to the wealthiest of Americans” now supports similar tax cuts for the wealthiest of Americans. This is why most experts have reckoned McCain’s deficit spending will be nearly twice as large as Obama’s.
For the fiscally responsible, neither candidate is ideal. (This is why I so adamantly am against the two party system on which American democracy is based, which I will discuss in a later post.) However, if we are choose which is the more responsible and conservative between the two, the choice is clear: Obama.
Most contemporary fiscal conservatives will probably tell you that small government and low taxes is ideal, but they will also recognize that, otherwise, spending increases should be matched by tax increases. In this sense, we can say President Bill Clinton was fiscally conservative (he created a budget surplus).
It is for this reason, among many others that I hope address in the future, that I cannot support John McCain for President. We can be sure of a few things about McCain: He does not represent small government conservatism. He does not represent government accountability and fiscal responsibility. Instead, what he represents in the continuation of the neoconservative philosophy of big government spending vis-à-vis tax cuts for all. President Bush has been unwavering in his commitment to this philosophy, and the American economy has paid dearly for it. We must say “No” to John McCain come election day.