The McCain campaign is getting really good at turning out YouTube videos. Here, they rightfully lampoon Sen. Joe Biden’s amazing statement that it is an American’s patriotic duty to pay higher taxes (John and Samuel Adams are doing somersaults):
But Biden’s statement didn’t just materialize because, he’s, well, Joe Biden. The ‘higher tax’ message is actually a campaign plank of Barack Obama’s. The Wall Street Journal explains in greater detail just what the Obama campaign is trying to accomplish with their message of running on a higher taxes platform and risk it poses:
Under the Obama plan, tax rates for couples making more than $250,000 a year would go up, as would their taxes on capital gains and corporate dividends. Sen. Obama says he would keep the taxes the same for those making less than $250,000 and propose additional cuts for lower-income families. Among other things, he proposes new initiatives to promote savings and ease the tax burden of working seniors.
In recent decades, raising any taxes on any households hasn’t been a winner. Democrat Walter Mondale lost to Mr. Reagan in a landslide in 1984 after promising tax increases. Republican President George H.W. Bush broke the “no new taxes” pledge he made in his 1988 campaign, and paid for it at the polls when he sought re-election in 1992. Bill Clinton won that campaign promising tax cuts for the middle class. He ended up pushing tax increases on the rich and his party subsequently lost control of Congress, in part over pubic discontent on the issue. John Kerry had a tax plan similar to Sen. Obama’s — raising taxes on the rich, cutting them for others — in his losing 2004 challenge to George W. Bush.
But the economy is now weak, even after Mr. Bush’s tax cuts, and polls show voters giving the current administration poor marks for its handling of the economy. The Obama campaign is betting that, under those conditions, voters may be more willing to accept some tax increases.