McCain Courts Small Business Owners in Economic Speech

Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain spoke to small business owners yesterday, outlining his stance on the economy.

In his speech to members of the National Federation of Independent Business, he said it's a tough time for the economy, workers and families, making job creation among small firms critical.

Sen. McCain (D-Ariz.) quipped in the beginning of his Washington speech that he has never run a "small, struggling enterprise -- unless you count my presidential campaign last year," but said job creation is one reason why the government "should never take the hard work, sacrifices and earnings of small businesses for granted."

He laid out how his approaches to tax policy, health-care reform, trade, government spending and many other issues differ from competitor Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and said no matter who wins the presidential election in November, "there will be change in Washington."

He said, if elected president, he would keep current low income and investment tax rates, pursue tax reform including a reduction in the corporate tax rate "from the second highest in the world to one on par with our trading partners."

He also said he would break down foreign trade barriers, improve federal aid to American workers in need, honor the North American Free Trade Agreement, keep a low rate on capital gains and propose a phase out of the alternative minimum tax, among other things.

Washington Post Staff Writer Perry Bacon Jr. wrote about the differences between McCain and Obama's positions on the economy.

In his speech to the NFIB members, McCain outlined why he believes Obama would be bad for small business, saying: "Obama talks about raising income tax rates on those making over $250,000" -- that includes 21.6 million sole proprietorships filing under the individual income tax rate, according to McCain.

However, The Fact Checker, a feature written by The Washington Post's Michael Dobbs that analyzes politicians' claims, disputes some of what McCain said about Obama's policies in the NFIB speech.

For example, Dobbs wrote that McCain's speech to the small business summit "leaves the impression that Obama favors raising taxes on all Americans, across the board. But his words have been carefully parsed. A more literal reading suggests that he could also be talking about some Americans from 'every background,' not 'all Americans.' The key issue is how many low and middle-income Americans would be affected by the Obama tax increases."

McCain also said in his speech that, in an effort to control government spending, he would order a review of the budgets of every federal program, department and agency and post the results on the Internet.

"As for health care policy, I believe that the best way to help small businesses and employers afford health care is not to increase government control of health care but to bring the rising cost of care under control and give people the option of having personal, portable health insurance," he said.

McCain said the traditional tax-subsidy that supports private insurance is concentrated on a subset of American workers and some businesses. "My health care reform will end that unfair bias in the law, while helping to make health insurance more affordable for every American. We're going to offer every individual and family in America a large tax credit to buy their health care, so that their health insurance is theirs to keep even when they move or change jobs. My plan would allow those who want to stick with employer provided health insurance to do so."

He added that those responsible for corporate abuses should be held accountable, including those responsible for the meltdown in the housing market. McCain said that under his watch, all aspects of a CEO's pay, including any severance arrangements, must be approved by shareholders.

He also noted that "the African-American and the Hispanic-American small business communities are one of the fastest growing segments of our economy," which is a "credit to the entrepreneurs of America, and America's prosperity depends on your success."

By Sharon McLoone |  June 11, 2008; 3:22 PM ET Election 2008
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I am a business owner in Arizona who has followed McCain's career. He is not for small businesses at all. He only cares about large corporations (preferential treatment for the ones his wife owns of course). He does not care how much trade deals hurt small U.S. manufacturers like me and the people that I employee. He only cares about the lobbyists that fund his campaigns.

Posted by: Zoey | June 12, 2008 12:55 AM

While Obama has voted to raise taxes over 90 times while in the Senate, he now wants to raise taxes for the wealthy.

OBAMA HAS INVESTTED $1 MILLION OF HIS MONEY IN A FUND THAT YIELDS TAX FREE INCOME. So this hypocite does not like paying taxes but wants to tax others.


Posted by: Jerome | June 12, 2008 10:38 PM

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