The Spirit of Fred Thompson Lives in John McCain

by Sean Hackbarth

John McCain and Fred Thompson

Sen. John McCain delivered another economic speech today building up his economic agends. There were a few new ideas to add to the ones he’s been talking about on the stump for months.

McCain has said he wants to drop the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% and preserve President Bush’s tax cuts. He also reaffirmed his free trade stance. That puts him in stark contrast to Smoot-Hawley Democrats like Sens. Clinton and Obama. The new elements include doubling the exemption for a child or dependent from $3500 to $7000, allowing businesses to expense new equipment purchases in the first year, ban internet and new mobile phone taxes, and make the R&D tax credit permanent.

McCain said he wanted to freeze discretionary spending for one year. However, discretionary spending is roughly a third of the federal budget. To get federal spending truly under control the President and Congress needs to go after entitlements like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.

Jim Geraghty’s right. The news-making proposal is ditching the federal gas tax over the summer. Of course by McCain’s logic on the Bush tax cuts reinstating the gas tax after Labor Day would amount to a tax hike.

Like sending out checks to stimulate the economic suspending the gas tax won’t do much for long-term economic growth. Sure, it’s less money going to the federal government, but I don’t have high expectations that it will do a lot for the economy other than tourist spots within road trip distance.

The most surprising element of McCain’s plan is an optional simplified tax system. It would have “two tax rates and a generous standard deduction.”

If you’re a Fred Head that last part sounds eerily familiar. Last fall, Fred Thompson issued a tax plan that included an optional flat tax with two tax rates and a generous standard deduction. Another element of the Thompson plan was reducing corporate tax rates.

I don’t know if Thompson and McCain have spent any time together since McCain became the GOP nominee. Like a wrote above McCain for some time has been talking about cutting the corporate tax rate. The optional alternative tax came out of the blue. I wonder how much influence Thompson had?

Another interesting idea McCain brought up was a revamping of unemployment benefits. He proposed changing the current welfare-style system into a personally-controlled rainy day fund:

Right now we have more than a half-dozen different programs that are supposed to help displaced workers, and for those who are not working at all. We have an unemployment insurance program straight out of the 1950s. It was designed to assist workers through a few tough months during an economic downturn until their old jobs came back. That program has no relevance to the world we live in today.

If I’m elected president, I’ll work with Congress and the states to make job training and unemployment insurance what they should be — a swift path from a job that’s not coming back to a job that won’t go away. We will build a new system, using the unemployment-insurance taxes to build for each worker a buffer account against a sudden loss of income — so that in times of need they’re not just told to fill out forms and take a number. And we will draw on the great strengths of America’s community colleges, applying the funds from federal training accounts to give displaced workers of every age a fresh start with new skills and new opportunities.

This sounds a little like personal savings accounts under some Social Security reform plans. A “buffer account” has a whiff of paternalism but no more than the current system. This could be a well-design innovation that reduces bureaucracy while getting help more quickly to those who need it.

For more thoughts here’s Philip Klein, Jerry Taylor, Winghunter, Bill Dupray, and James Joyner.

[original picture via marcn]

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21 Responses to “The Spirit of Fred Thompson Lives in John McCain”

1

The Spirit of Fred Thompson lives in John McCain? Dude, you do realize that in the stages of grief, denial is supposed to come first, and acceptace last, not the other way around right?

2

Nick, all did was notice some of McCain’s tax ideas look like Thompson’s. I don’t think I’m being a McCain cheerleader for making that observation.

3

The Spirit of Fred Thompson Lives in John McCain » The American Mind…

Sen. John McCain delivered another economic speech today building up his economic agends. There were a few new ideas to add to the ones he’s been talking about on the stump for months.

McCain has said he wants to drop the corporate tax rate from 35%…

4

STUMBLED!

Theres something about McCain I don’t like, not sure what it is.

VOTED for you at:
http://www.newsdots.com/politics/the-american-mind/

5

I was a huge Fred guy and was sorely disappointed when he couldn’t get his train moving down the track. He is a true blue conservative and there is a lot in McCain’s proposal that Fred and other fiscal conservatives can support. Recall during the primaries we kept hearing what good friends Fred and McCain are. It would not surprise me if Fred were advising him on various issues. If so, it would represent McCain’s continuing attempts to mend fences with conservatives.

Good post.

Thanks for the link

6

Sean, no sweat on Nick…merely another poster child for Preparation H. The net is full of them where I’ve obviously had my fill of their crap.

McCain adopted Fred’s Flat tax and if he’s smart he’ll adopt every single thing Fred offered as they’ll not only be implementable but, they’ll also actually work.

Do we dare hope he does is the question.

7

I kinda wondered if Fred visiting McCain earlier this month in Sedona would bear any fruit…

Maybe they did more than watch the final four?

8

Actually, dropping the price of fuel temporarily is a non-trivial positive stimulus the transportation industry, which then stimulates the entire economy. Its not just for show.

9

[...] Glass Half Full Department Filed under: Posts — buttle @ 20:58 This is, at least, one area in which a McCain presidency will not be a train wreck. [...]

10

Fred visited McCain this weekend.

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Election2008/Default.aspx?id=75797

Coincidence? I don’t think so.

11

[...] In John McCain’s Bush 2.0 tax plan he rolled out Tuesday, former Fred Thompson staffer Sean Hackbarth sees echoes of old mint julep himself. Considering the way Thompson shuffled and ambled two inches in the campaign before falling flat on his face, how is this a good thing? [...]

12

[...] Very Interesting: McCain Channeling Fred Thompson’s Tax Plan April, 16, 2008 — nicedeb John McCain gave an economic speech today with some new news-making ideas: McCain has said he wants to drop the corporate tax rate from 35% to 25% and preserve President Bush’s tax cuts. He also reaffirmed his free trade stance. That puts him in stark contrast to Smoot-Hawley Democrats like Sens. Clinton and Obama. The new elements include doubling the exemption for a child or dependent from $3500 to $7000, allowing businesses to expense new equipment purchases in the first year, ban internet and new mobile phone taxes, and make the R&D tax credit permanent. [...]

13

Winghunter, don’t make a fool of yourself. Nick’s thoughts are every bit as valid as yours. Act decent.

Sean, did McCain say anything about the $400M/day sinkhole that’s really, really causing the problem? I realize that a 100 year presence wouldn’t be at the same burn rate but still…Has he got any ideas to pay for that?

14

If this is what McCain gets from one visit with Fred Its time to try to get them together more often. It appears that Fred is a Good influence!! Thanks for the post Sean

15

I think that John McCain should appoint Fred as AG.

But beyond that he should adopt the FairTax.

He might wait do so after the Democrat Primary, since it will generate a lot of controversy.

But the FairTax will support the kind of American entrepreneurship that we are famous for

16

The last thing he should do on taxes is adopt the FairTax plan. This is a flawed planned that boils down to everyone being dependant on the government.

Fred’s plan was far and away better.

17

Hi Sean,
I saw a comment on another blog that Sean Hannity is going to air an interview with Fred next week, April 24th?

Have you heard about that anywhere?

18

Redneck, that’s news to me. I haven’t heard anything about an interview. I’ll keep my eyes open.

19

Fred is to be on Hannity at 8:00 and 11:00 eastern standard time on Thursday, April 24. I’m looking forward to hearing him, and I know he’s bound to have something on which we can Stand Strong!

20

If Fred Thompson can just get McCain to accept his other White Papers, especially the one on immigration then we might be able to vote for McCain. Anyone who was not privileged to read them can read the wonderful detailed plans at
http://brvanlanen.wordpress.com/fred-thompson-white-papers/
Fred had answers that made the other candidates in the debate say quite often, “I agree with Fred!” Too bad the American public did not recognize the true conservative and leader Fred Thompson is!

21

Watch Fred tonight on Hannity & Colmes,

Wednesday, April 23:
• H&C EXCLUSIVE: Former presidential candidate Fred Thompson on life after his run for the White House

Not expecting any controversy – maybe that’s why Sean neglected to “puff” the appearance on his radio shows. Did Hannity mention the appearance on Hannity and Colmes last night?

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