Ending the Maverick image, one post at a time

Adam Doster

Over at Slate, Daniel Gross ponders the fate of the Bush tax cuts in a McCain presidency. Let's say McCain wins the election in November, is confronted with a Democratic Congress, and is faced with a short-term and long-term budget scenario that is worse than the Bush fantasy. Extending the tax cuts in anything approaching their entirety will be an impossibility. Will McCain go to the mat and spend his political capital urging the public to back an extension of the cuts? Would he make bargains with Democrats on subjects about which he has far deeper convictions (say, Iraq) for the sake of extending policies he didn't vote for? Or will he bow to reality and let most of the tax cuts sunset, as they were designed to do? I see the argument. Once he doesn't need the support of hard-core supply-siders, and he shifts his focus to issues he's more interested in fighting (long, long, long wars), the tax cuts could fall by the wayside.But I don't buy this argument at all. McCain is probably the most likely to call bull on the loophole that lets private equity and hedge fund managers pay a 15 percent capital gains tax on wages they're paid for managing other people's money. During the summer, Obama and then Clinton came out strongly against the carried interest loophole. McCain, on the other hand, wooed PE giants with talks of no "tax increases." I think the answer is right there in the rhetoric. Of course, this all depends on whether McCain actually understands what carried interest is.

Adam Doster, a contributing editor at In These Times, is a Chicago-based freelance writer and former reporter-blogger for Progress Illinois.
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