Today, McCain will unveil his new “pension and family security plan” and has already released a fact sheet. The key elements:
SENIORS: Lower Taxes On Seniors Tapping Their Retirement Accounts.
SENIORS: Suspend Tax Rules That Force Seniors To Sell Their Stocks In The Midst Of This Financial Crisis.
SAVERS: Accelerate The Tax Write-Off For Those Forced To Sell At A Loss In The Current Market.
SAVERS: Reduce Capital Gains Taxes For 2009 And 2010 To Raise The Incentive To Save And Invest.
HOMEOWNERS: Purchase Mortgages Directly From Homeowners And Mortgage Servicers, And Replace Them With Manageable, Fixed-Rate Mortgages.
WORKERS: Eliminate Taxes On Unemployment Benefits.
I think the idea to lower taxes on seniors accessing their retirement accounts makes sense, but am spooked by purchasing mortgages directly from homeowners and replacing them with “managable fixed rate mortages.” Also, I’m not clear on why you’d reduce capital gains taxes AND “accelerate” the write-off for those who sell at a loss. If the idea is that lower capital gains taxes will create an incentive for people to buy, won’t accelerating the tax write-off do the opposite, and encourage people to sell? Also, I’m not a fan of temporary tax relief. Either you reduce tax rates or you don’t. People make investment decisions over the long haul, so the two year window for capital gains tax cuts is problematic, and would actually create an incentive for investors to sell in late 2010, just before the rates go back up. Overall, I think McCain would have been better off with a broad-based middle class tax relief package than these sort of targeted proposals, that don’t do much for those who aren’t retired, unemployed, or facing foreclosure — in other words, most voters.