(BLUE BELL, PA.) – Unveiling an economic plan aimed squarely at older workers who may hold the key to reversing his sliding poll numbers, John McCain said he would lower taxes on retirement accounts, reduce capital gains taxes, and eliminate taxes on unemployment benefits.
"If I am elected president, I will help to create jobs for Americans in the most effective way a president can do this -- with tax cuts that are directed specifically to create jobs, and protect your life savings," McCain said. "Retirees have suffered enough and need relief, and the surest relief is to let them keep more of their own savings."
But McCain does not believe people should be allowed to make early withdrawals from their IRAs and 401k plans, and instead proposed cutting the capital gains tax in half.
"Obama yesterday offered up a proposal that would have the effect of encouraging early withdrawal of funds from 401k accounts, by suspending penalties through 2009. This is an invitation to capital flight, and therefore to continued instability in the market, at a moment when exactly the opposite is needed," McCain said. "Any family that takes part in this will not see the benefits of the market recovery that smart policy can help bring about."
But that policy would cost roughly $50 billion over two years, and McCain has not outlined a way to pay for that kind of increase. Obama's campaign said McCain's plan was targeting the wrong part of the economy.
"Sen. McCain also shows how little he understands the economy by offering lower capital gains rates in a year in which people don't have an awful lot of capital gains," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton. "His trickle-down, ideological recipes won't strengthen our economy and grow our middle-class, but Barack Obama's pro-jobs, pro-family economic policies will."