John McCain said that the health care plan that Obama proposes would “force small businesses to cut jobs” and would put “a bureaucrat between your and your doctor.” In reality Obama’s plan exempts small businesses, and it also would allow those who have insurance now to could keep the coverage that they have.
Obama’s plan requires businesses to contribute to the cost of insurance for employees or pay some unspecified amount into a new public plan. But his proposal specifically says, “Small businesses will be exempt from this requirement.” And it offers additional help to small businesses that want to provide health care in the form of a refundable tax credit of up to half the cost of premiums. Neither McCain or Obama has defined what exactly a “small business” is.
Obama’s plan doesn’t “force” families into a “government-run health care system.” His plan mandates that children have coverage; there’s no mandate for adults. People can keep the health insurance they have now or chose from private plans, or opt for a new public plan that will offer coverage similar to what members of Congress have. Obama would also expand Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program. His plan certainly expands government-offered insurance – and McCain’s doesn’t – but it’s not a solely government-run plan, as McCain implied. And if Obama's public plan turns out to be similar to what federal employees have, as he says it would be, we're not sure how "a bureaucrat" would stand "between you and your doctor." The possible exception would be persons covered by Medicaid or SCHIP.
The bill McCain is talking about here is the 2005 energy bill, which actually raised taxes on the oil industry a little bit overall – by about $300 million, according to the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service. Meanwhile, McCain himself proposes to cut the corporate rate for all companies – oil included – and that would result in an estimated $4 billion cut for the five largest U.S.-based oil companies, according to the Center for American Progress Action Fund. Obama, on the other hand, is promising that he'll strip oil companies of "tax breaks" to the tune of an amount yet to be determined.
It's true that Obama voted for the 2005 bill. He said he favored the $5.8 billion (over 11 years) that it contained in tax incentives for renewable energy, energy efficiency and alternative fuels. McCain voted against it on the grounds that the $2.6 billion it contained for oil and gas incentives was too much, even though the bill also took away $2.9 billion from the industry, for a net tax increase of $300 million. Describing such a complex measure as "corporate welfare" is misleading.
McCain in his speech called for “reducing government spending and getting rid of failed programs.” The only problem is that he failed to cite a single program that he would eliminate or reduce.
McCain has not said which programs he considers to be "failed programs." He thus makes the spending cuts sound less painful than they will be should he fulfill his previously stated promise to balance the federal budget by 2013 while also making all Bush tax cuts permanent and adding new cuts of his own. McCain repeated his promise to eliminate "earmarks" from federal spending bills, saying "the first big-spending pork-barrel earmark bill that comes across my desk, I will veto it." That drew applause, but the fact is that earmarks amount to only $16.9 billion in the current fiscal year, according to the Office of Management and Budget. Meanwhile, the deficit is expected to be more than $200 billion in 2009. And McCain's tax cuts will add billions more to future deficits unless offset by spending cuts, which he so far has not been willing to identify. What would he cut?
A McCain adviser, former CBO chairman Douglas Holtz-Eakin, has said that McCain "will provide the leadership to achieve bipartisan spending restraint" and "will perform a comprehensive review of all programs, projects and activities of the federal government" to find programs to cut or eliminate. But that, of course, will come after people have cast their votes.
McCain said Obama would “close” markets to trade but the facts are Obama said he wants to renegotiate NAFTA to strengthen environmental and labor provisions.
Obama has said he thinks it's unwise to repeal the trade deal, because to do so "would actually result in more job loss ... than job gains." And in a June interview with Fortune magazine, he stated that he didn’t plan on pulling out of NAFTA.
McCain's running mate, Gov. Sarah Palin of Alaska, ridiculed Obama for using similar high-sounding words: /Palin, Sept. 3: What does he actually seek to accomplish after he's done turning back the waters and healing the planet? That crack drew jeers and laughter. Perhaps Republicans see a distinction between "healing the planet" and "restoring” the health of our planet," but I don’t see it.
The Republican spin machine is in overdrive with only weeks before the election that will define America for the next 4 years. They may feed us a line of Bullcrap but we don’t have to swallow it.