Policy Forum

McCain and Obama: Comparing Their Economic Platforms

July 15, 2008 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM EDT


Featuring Sallie James, Center for Trade Policy Studies, Cato Institute, Dan Mitchell, Cato Institute, and Christian Weller, Center for American Progress.

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After an extended primary season, the 2008 presidential campaign is finally under way and the candidates are presenting—at least in some areas—starkly different economic policy proposals. Sen. John McCain is a career‐​long free trader, consistently voting against trade barriers and subsidies. Sen. Barack Obama, although possessing a shorter voting record, puts greater restrictions on his support for free trade and favors a time‐​out on new trade agreements and extensive review—and possible renegotiation—of existing ones. On fiscal policy, Sen. McCain wants lower taxes while Sen. Obama proposes to shift the tax burden to wealthier Americans. According to the National Taxpayers Union, Sen. McCain has endorsed $68 billion of additional government spending per year and Sen. Obama has called for nearly $344 billion of bigger government. How would these policies strengthen the U.S. economy or damage it? If Obama is elected, would Congress simply rubber‐​stamp his proposals? If McCain wins, would Congress approve his agenda? Please join us as our panel discusses the McCain and Obama tax, spending, and trade plans.