Oct 012008
Authors: Caleb Thornton

If you have been watching the news at all over the past couple of weeks, then you know that this nation is dealing with one of the worst financial collapses in its history. Honestly, we could spend days debating why and how we got into the mess we are in now, and I’m not so sure we would come to a definite conclusion.

However, what we can conclude is this: Regardless of the $700 billion bailout, we are headed into some rough economic times that the next president is going to have to deal with. Now, both candidates have promised to lead Americans out of these hard times with promises of tax cuts, increased tax write-offs and limits in government spending. However, look closely, and you are going to find some significant differences in how each candidate approaches such issues. Take, for example, each candidate’s proposals regarding tax relief. Barack Obama has promised to bring tax relief to all American’s making under $250,000 year, while at the same time simplifying the tax code so that, “millions of Americans will be able to do their taxes in less than five minutes.” The McCain campaign has promised much of the same, claiming to offer tax cuts to all Americans while also simplifying the tax code.

Now, the idea of simplifying the tax code is a great one, but let’s be honest; the day filing taxes becomes easy in America is the day that we see Rush Limbaugh and Keith Olberman holding hands and skipping down the road singing Cum Baya — it’s not happening anytime soon.

Changing the rate of taxation can and does happen, though, and even though both candidate’s proposals look similar, they differ in some very important ways.

First, Obama has proposed a windfall profits tax that he claims will provide all Americans with a $1,000 dollar energy tax rebate to deal with the current rise in energy costs. It looks good on paper (hey, I would love 1,000 bucks back from the government, but, of course, I’m not holding my breath). But the fact is: taxing “big oil” to bring needed relief to the average American is not relief at all. Essentially, Barack Obama would be punishing corporations who have been successful in the corporate world and, if this bailout plan goes through, rewarding those who have been abysmal failures in the business world. But I guarantee companies such as Shell and BP aren’t going to be the ones taking the loss.

In the end, added taxes are just added costs that will undoubtedly be handed down to the consumer — you and me. And in a time where energy costs are high enough and the economy is struggling, this is the last thing we need.

In retrospect, John McCain made a great point in the debate last Friday when talking about corporate taxation. The fact that our country has the second highest corporate tax rate in the world is not helping our economy to grow. In fact, it has become a major inhibitor. When companies can move outside the U.S. and pay less than half in taxes than what they are paying here, they are going to do it and take those jobs with them.

McCain has proposed lowering the corporate tax rate to deal with this problem, thereby promoting a manner of healthy growth within the American economy by using incentives within the free market to create such growth.

To steal a line from the other side, we can’t afford more of the same; it’s time for this problem of corporate taxation to change, so that we can promote growth in a time that it is so desperately needed, and John McCain, not Barack Obama, is yet again the right man for the job.

Caleb Thornton is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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