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Taxes under Obama and McCain

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Publication Date: November 2008

Publisher(s): Tax Policy Center

Author(s): William G. Gale; Benjamin H. Harris

Special Collection: John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Topic: Banking and finance (Taxation and tax policy)

Keywords: Federal Budgets & Fiscal Policy; Income and Wealth Distribution; Tax Distribution and Economic Trends; Taxes and Social Programs

Type: Report


Tax policy has been a major issue in the Presidential election campaign, with both candidates proposing extensive changes. The candidates take very different approaches to tax policy. The main differences are two: first, McCain?s plans would reduce revenues by significantly more than Obama?s; and second, McCain?s would be substantially less progressive, especially among very high income taxpayers. From the standpoint of growth or simplicity, both plans disappoint. It is hard to believe that either set of changes would have significant growth effects on the economy.