SEN. JOHN MCCAIN
The Republican candidate would extend the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 and add new breaks: He would cut the corporate income tax rate from 35 to 25 percent, repeal the alternative minimum tax and double the deduction for dependents.
One of his costliest promises is a $5,000 tax credit for families to buy health insurance; McCain would offset the expense by taxing employer-provided health benefits as income for the first time, and by trimming Medicare and Medicaid.
He has proposed freezing domestic spending in his first year and cutting roughly $100 billion more a year in unspecified spending cuts to balance the budget by 2013, a promise that budget analysts say is unrealistic. McCain's biggest spending priority is to enlarge the military, and he proposes increases for some education and energy programs.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA
The Democratic candidate would extend the Bush tax cuts for people making less than $250,000 a year, but would repeal them for people in the top two marginal tax brackets before their scheduled expiration two years from now. He would provide new tax breaks for homeowners who do not itemize deductions and for saving, college costs and new farmers.
He would change the alternative minimum tax so it does not affect the middle class. To raise revenues, in addition to repealing the top tier of the Bush tax cuts, Obama would raise taxes on capital gains and dividends.
His big-ticket spending item, at more than $100 billion a year, is his plan for universal health care coverage. He also proposes increases for education, infrastructure, research, foreign aid and the military.
NEW YORK TIMES