Exposing Five Dangerous Lies in McCain's Big Speech

Election '08
Editor's note: Much of the best information on the 2008 election can't be found in newspapers or magazines, or TV and radio, or websites -- it's on email. The article below is an email response sent out by critics of McCain's RNC speech singling out inaccurate statements the GOP nominee made to the nation on critical issues of the day.

False McCain Claim: "My health care plan will make it easier for more Americans to find and keep good health care insurance."

Facts: McCain's Health Care Plan Does Little to Reduce the Ranks of America's Uninsured and Would Erode the Employer-Based System

Under McCain's Plan, Health Insurance Benefits Would be Taxed For The First Time, Resulting In A $3.6 Trillion Tax Increase On Working Families. McCain's health care plan would eliminate the payroll deduction on health care benefits, which would have the effect of raising taxes on working families by $3.6 trillion. [New York Times, 5/1/08]

McCain's Plan Undermines The Employer-Based Health Care System And Will Lead To Workers Losing Coverage. McCain's health care plan would begin to dismantle the employer-based health care system, removing the incentives employers have to provide health care coverage, resulting in employees losing their health care. [New York Times, 4/30/08;Washington Post, 4/30/08]

The Health Care Tax Credit McCain Offers Would Cover Less Than Half The Cost Of An Average Health Care Plan. The McCain health plan would give families a $5,000 tax credit to purchase health insurance. However, in 2007, the average family health insurance plan cost $12,000 - more than double the value of McCain's health care tax credit. ["Employer Health Benefits 2007 Annual Survey," Kaiser Family Foundation, 9/11/07; "'Call To Action' On Health Care Reform," John McCain 2008 press release, 4/29/08; Wall Street Journal, 10/11/07]

McCain's Health Care Plan Does Little to Help America's Uninsured. McCain's plan does not focus on "reducing the ranks of the uninsured," of which there are about 47 million, or one in seven Americans. According to the New York Times, "The McCain campaign has no estimate of how many of America's 47 million uninsured would likely gain coverage under its plan." It "has been estimated to reduce the number of uninsured in the U.Sby three to nine million." [Wall Street Journal, 10/11/2007, 4/30/2008; New York Times, 3/2/2008]

McCain's Erosion Of Employer System Would Take Away Millions of Americans' Insurance. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, "158 million people nationally" had "employer-sponsored health insurance" in 2007. McCain's elimination of the employer tax incentive to provide coverage would put these 158 million Americans' coverage in jeopardy. According to an analysis conducted by the Center For American Progress, "business owners would no longer need to cover their workers to get tax benefits for their own coverageThe entire employer health insurance system could unravel, ending this as an option for Americans who prefer it." In addition, the McCain plan "would not require insurers to provide health coverage to people with pre-existing conditions." [Kaiser Family Foundation, "Employer Health Benefits 2007 Annual Survey; Center For American Progress Action Fund, "Analysis of McCain's Health Care Announcement," 4/29/2008; New York Times Political Blog, "The Caucus," 4/29/2008,

Oil Companies:

False McCain Attack: "Both parties and Senator Obama passed another corporate welfare bill for oil companies."

The Facts: Energy Bill Actually Raised Taxes on Oil and Gas Industry, McCain Supports Tax Breaks for Big Oil

AP Fact Check: Congressional Research Service Showed That The Energy Bill Actually Raised Taxes On The Oil And Gas Industry. The AP reported, "Clinton is on shakier ground when attacking Obama for supporting "Dick Cheney's energy bill," and not just because it's a stretch to assign the vice president name - red meat to Democrats - to the legislation. The 2005 act that she describes as packed with billions of dollars in oil industry breaks actually raised taxes on the oil and gas industry by about $300 million over 11 years, according to the Congressional Research Service. The nonpartisan analysis found $2.6 billion in tax cuts for the oil and gas industry and $2.9 billion in tax increases. The bulk of tax breaks went to other sources of energy, including alternative fuels favored by both Clinton and Obama." [AP, 2/15/08]

McCain's Tax Plan Will Cut Taxes For Oil Companies by Nearly $4 Billion - Including $1.2 Billion for Exxon. A study by the Center for American Progress Action Fund noted that the corporate tax rate cut included in the McCain tax plan "would deliver a $3.8 billion tax cut to the five largest American oil companies" - ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Valero Energy, and Marathon. According to their analysis ofExxon's financial statements, the company would receive a tax savings of $1.2 billion under the McCain plan. ["The McCain Plan to Cut Oil CompanyTaxes by Nearly $4 Billion," Center for American Progress Action Fund, 3/27/08]

McCain Spokesman: McCain Opposes A Bipartisan Compromise to Expand Domestic Oil Production Because of Provisions that Would End Tax Breaks for Oil Companies. "A spokesman for Sen. McCain said that while he 'applauds the bipartisan effort,' he wouldn't support the proposal because 'he cannot and will not support legislation that raises taxes.'" [Wall Street Journal,8/2/08] ###


False McCain Attack: "I will open new markets to our goods and services. My opponent will close them."

The Facts: When Obama Negotiate Trade Deals, It Will Be With American Workers in Mind; McCain Supported Deals That Cost Americans Jobs

Obama Said That While "We're Not Going To Draw A Moat" Around The US, Trade Deals Had To Be Negotiated With American Workers In Mind.

"The AP reported, "Obama said he supports the foreign trade deal, which is especially important to labor and U.S. manufacturers. He said active trading is a key way to keep the United States competitive. 'We're not going to draw a moat around the United States' economy. If we do that, then China is still trading, India is still going to be trading,' said Obama, who voted against the recent Central American Free Trade Agreement and opposes the pending trade deal with South Korea. 'I think that NAFTA and CAFTA did not reflect the interests of American workers but reflected the interests of the stock owners on Wall Street, because they did not contain the sorts of labor provisions and environmental provisions that should have been embedded and should have been enforceable in those agreements,' he said." [AP, 10/10/07]

McCain Supported NAFTA, Which Contributed to Loss of a Million American Jobs, And CAFTA. John McCain supported both the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA). The Economic Policy Institute has estimated that NAFTA contributed to the loss of 1 million American jobs since it took effect in 1994. [Vote 395, HR 3450, 61-38, 11/20/93; Vote 170, S.1307, 54-45, 6/30/05; "Revisiting NAFTA; Still not working for North America's workers," The Economic Policy Institute,9/28/06]

McCain: I Am The Biggest Free Marketer And Free Trader. "Well, obviously we should make sure that every nation respects human rights, and we should advocate that and try to enforce it. But I will open every market in the world to Iowa's agricultural products. I'm the biggest free marketer and free trader that you will ever see." [GOP Debate, 12/12/07]

McCain Praised NAFTA But Admitted That People Are "Gonna Lose Jobs." "I know NAFTA was a good idea. It's created millions of jobs and it has helped the economies of all three nations. All you have to do is go to Detroit and see the thousands of trucks lined up every day or go to our southern border. There have been winners and losers and that's the problem but free trade is something I think is vital to the future of America. As a free trader, I will open up every market in the world to Iowa agricultural products. Have people lost jobs? Yes, they have. And they're gonna lose jobs although the overall gain in jobs is gonna be pretty impressive." [Des Moines Register, 11/27/07]

McCain: I Don't Care How Many Jobs You Outsource. Responding to a question about the economy during an appearance on Hardball, McCain said, "If we start seeing what a lot of us expect, and that is a strong economy cannot go forever without picking up jobs. I don't care how many of them you outsource, then I think the president is going to be helped by that." [MSNBC, "Hardball," 2/25/04]

McCain Acknowledges Trade Agreements Have Cost America Jobs, Still Believes Agreements Have "Been Very Successful." "McCain has said the trade pacts have been a net positive. 'Overall, the free-trade agreements have been very successful, and I can prove that with economic data on job creation,' McCain said in an interview Monday with the Journal Sentinel. But he added, 'It has left people behind, and we must give those people and others opportunities.'" [Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 4/16/08]


McCain's False Attacks: "I will keep taxes low and cut them where I can. My opponent will raise them.�

The Facts: Obama Will Cut Taxes, McCain Will Raise Them -- David Leonhardt of The New York Times Wrote That, "For Most People, Obama Is The Tax Cutter In This Campaign."

Leonhardt wrote that, " The Tax Policy Center, a research group run by the Brookings Institution and the Urban Institute, has done the most detailed analysis of the Obama and McCain tax plans, and it has published a series of fascinating tables. For the bottom 80 percent of the population -- those households making $118,000 or less -- McCain's various tax cuts would mean a net savings of about $200 a year on average. Obama's proposals would bring $900 a year in savings. So for most people, Obama is the tax cutter in this campaign." [The New York Times, 8/24/08]

Analysts Say That Obama's Tax Cut Plan "Offers Three Times The Break For Middle Class Families Than Proposals" Of McCain. "The tax cut plan of Democratic nominee to be Barack Obama offers three times the break for middle class families than proposals of likely Republican nominee John McCain, according to analysts working for a left-leaning think tank. Families making between $37,595 and $66,354 of annual income with Obama would get an average tax cut of $1,042 per family while McCain's tax cut for this group would be $319, the report states." [Nashua Telegraph, 6/12/08]

Under Obama's Plan The Middle Of The Middle Class Would See Taxes Cut By $1,042 A Year; McCain's Tax Plan Would Give Them Only A $319 Tax Cut. According to the non partisan Tax Policy Center's computations, "under Mr. Obama's plan, the middle of the middle class, or those earning $37,595 to $66,354, would see taxes cut by $1,042 a year. Under Mr. McCain's plan, taxes for people in that category would also fall, but by $319; the largest chunk of the benefits would go to those making $2.8 million a year or more." [New York Times, 6/13/08]

Washington Post: McCain's Approach To Taxes Is Far More Costly Than Obama's. "There is a serious debate to be had in this presidential campaign about the fundamentally different tax policies of Barack Obama and John McCain. Then there is the phony, misleading and at times outright dishonest debate that the McCain campaign has been waging -- most recently with a television ad. The two candidates have very different positions on taxes. Mr. Obama wants to raise taxes on the wealthiest Americans and cut them substantially for low- and middle-income taxpayers. He would cut taxes for more households, and by a larger amount, than Mr. McCain, who would give the greatest benefits to wealthy households and corporations. The McCain campaign insists on completely misrepresenting Mr. Obama's plan. The country can't afford the tax cuts either man is promising, although Mr. McCain's approach is by far the more costly. We don't expect either side to admit that. But neither side should get to outright lie about its opponent's positions, either." [Editorial, Washington Post, 8/31/08]

ABC Headline: McCain Health Credit Could Morph Into Tax Hike. McCain's "health-care plan would replace the existing tax exclusion for employer-sponsored coverage with a refundable tax credit for all Americans. The tax change is intended to create a more equitable system that provides everyone -- including those who do not receive their health coverage from their employer -- with the same tax advantage. And since it is refundable, it would provide a cash benefit to those who earn too little to pay federal income taxes. But if the cost of health care continues to outpace inflation in the economy at large, McCain's health credit would morph into a tax hike for those who currently receive a tax exclusion for employer-sponsored coverage, according to a study released Wednesday by the liberal Center for American Progress." [ABC News, 7/2/08] McCain's Health Care Plan Would Raises Taxes On Families By $1,169 In 2013. According to a report by the Center for American Progress, the tax credit in McCain's health care plan would fall behind rising health premiums and would raise taxes for the average family by $1,169 in 2013. ["John McCain's Radical Prescription for Health Care," Center for American Progress Action Fund, 7/2//08]

McCain's Campaign "Acknowledged" That His Health Care Plan "Would Have The Effect Of Increasing Tax Payments For Some Workers." "Though Senator John McCain has promised to not raise taxes, his campaign acknowledged Wednesday that the health plan he outlined this week would have the effect of increasing tax payments for some workers, primarily those with high incomes and expensive health plans. The campaign cannot yet project how many taxpayers might see their taxes go up, said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, Mr. McCain's top domestic policy adviser. But Mr. Holtz-Eakin said in an interview that for some, Mr. McCain's health care tax credits would not be large enough to compensate for his proposal to eliminate the tax breaks afforded to workers with employer-provided health benefits. To end the disadvantage to those who do not buy insurance through employers, Mr. McCain proposes to eliminate the exclusion of health benefits from taxable income. In exchange, he would provide refundable tax credits of $2,500 to single people and of $5,000 to families, with the goal of stoking competition in the individual insurance market. The elimination of the exclusion would generate $3.6 trillion over 10 years, according to the McCain campaign, and that money would pay for the tax credits." [New York Times, 5/1/08] ###

Worker Training

False McCain Attack: "For workers in industries that have been hard hit, we'll help make up part of the difference in wages between their old job and a temporary, lower paid one while they receive retraining that will help them find secure new employment at a decent wage."

The Facts: McCain Has Repeatedly Opposed Vital Training for Workers in Hard-Hit Industries

McCain Opposed $1 Million In Job Training Programs For Young People. In 2003, McCain sponsored an amendment to delete several provisions from the war supplemental spending bill, including $1 million for the Jobs for America's Graduates school-to-work program for at-risk young people for Training Employment Services. [2003 Senate Vote #118, 4/3/2003, McCain: Y]

McCain Voted Against a Pilot Program to Provide Low-Interest Loans to Workers in Job Training or Assistance Programs. In 2002, McCain voted to kill an amendment requiring the Labor Department to establish a pilot program providing low-interest loans to workers in job training or job assistance programs to enable workers to continue making their mortgage payments. (CQ) McCain: Y [2002 Senate Vote #119, 5/21/2002]

McCain Voted Against Providing Additional $4.1 Million For Job Training And Other Domestic Programs. In 1992, McCain voted against transferring $4.1 billion from defense to domestic programs, including Head Start, child immunization programs and the Job Corps program. (CQ) McCain: N [1992 Senate Vote #208, 9/16/1992, McCain: N]

McCain Voted Against Providing $1 Billion In Economic Assistance, Including Job Training. In 1992, McCain voted against providing $1 billion for various programs designed to help those struggling economically, including job training funding. [1992 Senate Vote #146, 7/2/1992, McCain: Y]

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