Blitzer lets Graham off hook on how McCain would "pay for $300 billion in new tax cuts"

››› ››› JEREMY HOLDEN

On The Situation Room, Wolf Blitzer asked Sen. Lindsey Graham how Sen. John McCain would "pay for $300 billion in new tax cuts" and said, "But there's no waste -- with all due respect, Senator ... you're going to find $300 billion in waste, are you?" But when Graham replied, "No, no, $35 billion from earmarks, but there are other programs up here that can be reined in, including the Department of Defense," Blitzer did not press Graham to identify which specific "programs" McCain would "rein[] in" to "pay for $300 billion in new tax cuts."

During the June 25 edition of CNN's The Situation Room, host Wolf Blitzer asked Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), "So how is Senator [John] McCain going to, as they say here in Washington, pay for $300 billion in new tax cuts?" Following Graham's response, Blitzer said, "But there's no waste -- with all due respect, Senator ... you're going to find $300 billion in waste, are you?" Graham responded, "No, no, $35 billion from earmarks, but there are other programs up here that can be reined in, including the Department of Defense." But rather than asking Graham which specific "programs" McCain would "rein[] in" to "pay for $300 billion in new tax cuts," Blitzer allowed Graham to attack Sen. Barack Obama.

Moreover, while Graham claimed that "there are programs up here that can be reined in, including the Department of Defense," Blitzer did not point out that while McCain has suggested paying for "additional investment" in the military by "cutting wasteful spending," he has also asserted that we "can afford to spend more on national defense." In a November 2007 Foreign Affairs article, McCain wrote, "Along with more personnel, our military needs additional equipment in order to make up for its recent losses and modernize. We can partially offset some of this additional investment by cutting wasteful spending. But we can also afford to spend more on national defense, which currently consumes less than four cents of every dollar that our economy generates -- far less than what we spent during the Cold War."

Graham also claimed, "[W]e believe the tax cuts, the capital gains cuts and the dividend cuts actually increase revenue to the government and over time will help us. The key to this is controlling spending and cutting taxes." But Blitzer did not point out that numerous economists have challenged the suggestion that cutting dividend tax rates and capital gains tax rates leads to increased long-term revenue. Indeed, the nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation estimated in June 2006 that the 2006 extension of the 2003 cuts on capital gains taxes would result in decreased revenues of $20 billion over 10 years.

From the June 25 edition of CNN's The Situation Room:

BLITZER: All right, let's talk a little bit about tax cuts because there is a huge difference between these two candidates on the issue of tax cuts. Here's what Senator Obama says about Republicans in general, and Senator McCain, that they simply will go forward with all these new tax cuts, and they don't have a way to pay for it. It's only going to increase the national debt and our children and grandchildren will wind up paying for it. Listen to this.

OBAMA [video clip]: Republicans love to say, he's tax-and-spend, he's tax-and-spend. The truth is that my tax plan is going to give almost all the benefits to people who are making $150,000 or less. In contrast, John McCain's got a plan where -- that will cost $300 billion.

BLITZER: All right. So how is Senator McCain going to, as they say here in Washington, pay for $300 billion in new tax cuts?

GRAHAM: Washington will spend less under a McCain administration, so we can give you some of your money back -- controlling spending. Republicans love to cut --

BLITZER: But there's no waste -- with all due respect, Senator --

GRAHAM: Yeah.

BLITZER: -- you're going to find $300 billion in waste, are you?

GRAHAM: No, no, $35 billion from earmarks, but there are other programs up here that can be reined in, including the Department of Defense. But we believe the tax cuts, the capital gains cuts and the dividend cuts actually increase revenue to the government and over time will help us. The key to this is controlling spending and cutting taxes.

If you just cut taxes, you don't control spending. You haven't solved the problem. If you increase spending and increase taxes, you're gonna drive people offshore to other countries. So, the Obama solution is to increase spending and increase taxes. That will not lead to a vibrant economy.

BLITZER: And as you can see, we're standing by to hear from Senator Obama. He's got a news conference coming up.

GRAHAM: Yes, sir.

BLITZER: We'll go there shortly. Another major source of difference -- another major difference is on energy policy, which is been foremost with $4-plus a gallon of gas, $130, $140 a barrel, whatever it is right now.

Posted In
Economy, Taxes, Elections
Network/Outlet
CNN
Person
Wolf Blitzer
Show/Publication
The Situation Room
Stories/Interests
Barack Obama, John McCain, 2008 Elections
We've changed our commenting system to Disqus.
Instructions for signing up and claiming your comment history are located here.
Updated rules for commenting are here.