A Republican can’t afford to lose the tax debate with a Democrat, or even just fight it to a draw. That appears to be happening in this race, even with the advent of Joe the Plumber. Clive Crook has a great column on how McCain is mis-handling this issue (it includes similar points to the ones Ramesh made here). Crook is understandably perplexed that McCain hasn’t made more of this:
Here is a fact you might not have noticed. It certainly seems to have slipped by most Americans. The typical US household would get a bigger tax cut under Mr McCain’s proposals than under Mr Obama’s. I know a few politicians who could do something with that.
Broadly speaking, Mr McCain proposes to leave the Bush tax cuts in place. Mr Obama proposes a big increase in taxes on people earning more than $250,000 (€187,000, £145,000) a year, in order to cut taxes and increase subsidies at the bottom; for the middle, he too would mostly keep the Bush tax code. Middle-income households do come out slightly ahead under the Obama plan – but only if you leave out the effect of Mr McCain’s healthcare proposal. The question is, why would you do that?