McCain, Obama's tax plans would hike debt, study says

  • Updated: July 23, 2008 - 8:34 PM

John McCain's and Barack Obama's tax proposals would add trillions of dollars to the national debt, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan operation of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, two center-left Washington research centers.

MCCAIN'S TAX CUTS

McCain would cut taxes by a total of $4.2 trillion over 10 years, largely by extending most of President Bush's temporary tax reductions, which are set to expire in 2010. With interest costs, McCain's plans would add $5 trillion to the national debt over 10 years.

OBAMA'S TAX CUTS

Obama would cut taxes by a total of $2.8 trillion over that period by extending some of Bush's tax reductions and creating new ones for the working and middle classes. That figure includes the extra $284 billion the government would collect over 10 years under Obama's proposals to raise taxes on those who make more than $250,000 annually. With interest, Obama's plans would increase the national debt by an estimated $3.4 trillion.

NATIONAL DEBT

The debt is now $9.5 trillion, or $31,284.84 for every person in the United States, according to the National Debt Clock website. That's all the debt the government has accumulated since George Washington was president. The debt was $5.6 trillion in 2000. Simply paying interest will cost taxpayers about $260 billion this year.

CAMPAIGNS RESPOND

Obama's senior policy adviser Austan Goolsbee said Obama would reduce annual budget deficits and the national debt, but he wouldn't specify how.

McCain's counterpart Doug Holtz-Eakin said McCain would be able to eliminate the annual deficit by 2013 because his tax cuts would create more jobs and stir economic growth. But the analysis said McCain's budget deficits would offset the economic stimulus effects of his policies, resulting in no net spur to growth.

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