The Blog

For What It's Worth

4:16 PM, Apr 19, 2006 • By DANIEL MCKIVERGAN
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Since Jonathan Chait and others have turned their focus to Sen. McCain the last few days I'd like to add one point -- for now at least -- going back to 2001. (In the spirit of full disclosure, I was his legislative director back then.) Yes, McCain voted against the 2001 tax cut. But his collective reasons for doing so were far different than those of the Democratic caucus. Based on the "surplus" projection, he wanted to enact a smaller tax cut primarily targeting the lower- and middle class (including a child tax credit, a cut in the marriage tax penalty, payroll tax reform, and an estate tax cut capped at five million to reduce any negative impact on charitable giving), ramp up defense spending to substantially enlarge our air, land and naval forces (this was pre 9/11 I may add), fund the transition costs associated with moving toward some form of Social Security personal accounts to ensure its long-term solvency, shore up Medicare's solvency (which, I believe, is one reason why he recently voted against the prescription drug bill), and enact stiff spending reforms (pork-barrel projects, etc) because they were long overdue and would also act as a partial hedge against faulty "surplus" projection numbers.