From CBS News' Andante Higgins:
After unveiling more of his plan to save the economy, John McCain continued the conversation today holding an economic summit in Milwaukee, Wis. He sat down with small businesses to get feedback on proposals he unveiled yesterday.
"How can I look Americans in the eye and say 'I can assure you we have taken necessary steps to assure Americans we will never face this type of problem again?'" McCain asked Curt Culver, Chairman And CEO of the Mortgage Guarantee Insurance Company. Culver told McCain that job creation is vital to home ownership and urged oversight and financial regulation in all markets. He said U.S. housing policy should focus more keeping people in their homes.
Panelists explained the importance of keeping college affordable in a time where a degree is so important in the workplace. They also noted concern about high school drop out rates and the growing economic gap created by a lack of education. "In some respects we have a two tiered system of education in America," McCain said. "The quality of education in America is directly related to where you live." He said the U.S. has work to do in the inner cities and rural parts of America and choice and competition will help that cause.
Business owners particularly liked McCain's proposal for a simpler tax code. They complained that the tax code is defined by thousands of pages that had confused Americans for years. Ed Zore, CEO of Northwestern Mutual, told McCain his tax return had 69 pages of information that he couldn't understand, even with his financial background. McCain said he doesn't see a proposal to simplify the tax code ever making it through Congress because of the influence of special interests. "The last time we really made any reforms to the tax code was 1986," McCain said. "American people have no confidence in how their tax dollars are collected, whether it's fair or not or how it's spent."
To get around this hurdle McCain proposes an alternative tax system along the lines of two income brackets. Those who made under $100,000 a year would pay 15 percent, while those who make over that amount pay 25 percent. "You could do it with one sheet of paper and the tax code could be on one sheet of paper," McCain said.
McCain will expand his economy talks with a new campaign tour launching on Sunday. "I need to have this dialogue across America so I can be best informed and best educated and the best way to do that is not staying inside the beltway but going out to places like the state of Wisconsin, Alabama, South Carolina California all over America having this dialogue with America, not only so I can learn but also so that they can understand my hope and vision for future of this country."