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Cost of Presidential Candidates’ Promises

With about 125 days until the 2008 elections in November, and with the presumptive candidates of the two major parties all but nominated, taxpayers can take a look at just how deeply Senators McCain (R-AZ) and Obama (D-IL) intend to reach into our pockets.

The National Taxpayers Union Foundation (NTUF) released the third round of “costing out” candidates’ platforms on June 3, which showed Sen. Obama would increase yearly federal spending by $343.9 billion while Sen. McCain would increase annual spending by $68.5 billion. Perhaps those numbers explain the candidates’ most recent Congressional ratings -- ratings that present a comprehensive picture of their fiscal records:

  • Barack Obama    F (5%)
  • John McCain        A (88%)

NTUF also reports that Sen. McCain, dating to 1992, has received an “A” rating 67% of the time.

The Tax Foundation released a study on June 26 that focuses on the “tax redistribution” effects of the two candidates plans. According to the Tax Foundation’s president, Scott Hodge:

“Obama's plan would greatly accelerate the decades-long trend toward a federal government that depends for tax revenue almost exclusively on a few high-income people.

“This contrasts starkly with the McCain plan, according to Hodge, which would give every taxpayer a cut and leave the current tax burden distribution approximately where it is.”

According to Hodge, "Under the Obama plan for 2009 . . . more than $131 billion would be redistributed from the top 1 percent of taxpayers to all other taxpayers." He then adds, “In other words . . . it is at this point a cautious estimate to say that in 2009, under Obama's plan, 1.13 million Americans would pay more in all federal taxes than 128 million of their fellow citizens combined."

We are reminded of the words of Alexander F. Tytler, an 18th century Scottish judge and historian, who said:

“A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until a majority of voters discover that they can vote themselves largess out of the public treasury.”

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