Reforming Washington to Regain the Trust of Taxpayers
Bring The Budget To Balance By 2013
John McCain will balance the budget by the end of his first term. The near-term path to balance is built on three principles:
Reasonable economic growth. Growth is an imperative - historically the greatest success in reducing deficits (late 1980s; late 1990s) took place in the context of economic growth.
Comprehensive spending controls. Bringing the budget to balance will require across-the-board scrutiny of spending and making tough choices on new spending proposals.
Bi-partisanship in budget efforts. Much as the late 1990s witnessed bipartisan efforts to put the fiscal house in order, bi-partisan efforts will be the key to undoing the recent spending binge.
In the long-term, the only way to keep the budget balanced is successful reform of the large spending pressures in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. McCain Policies Will Support Reasonable Economic Growth: Small business is the key to job growth. Small business will benefit from:
Low individual tax rates - sole-proprietorships, partnerships, landlords and others are taxed under the individual income tax.
Access to capital from low tax rates on dividends and capital gains.
Minimizing expensive mandates - such as those for health insurance and pro-union initiatives like card check.
Enhancing international competitiveness to keep jobs here; not abroad.
A lower corporate tax rate.
Improved investment and research incentives to ensure that workers have the most modern technology.
Bringing the budget to balance, reducing federal borrowing, and controlling spending to reduce the burden on the economy.
Comprehensive Spending Controls: John McCain will institute broad reforms to control spending:
The McCain administration would reserve all savings from victory in the Iraq and Afghanistan operations in the fight against Islamic extremists for reducing the deficit. Since all their costs were financed with deficit spending, all their savings must go to deficit reduction.
A one-year spending pause. Freeze non-defense, non-veterans discretionary spending for a year and use those savings for deficit reduction. A one-year pause in the growth of discretionary spending will be imposed to allow for a comprehensive review of all spending programs. After the completion of a comprehensive review of all programs, projects and activities of the federal government, we will propose a plan to modernize, streamline, consolidate, reprioritize and, where needed, terminate individual programs.
Take back earmark funds. The McCain Administration will reclaim billions of add-on spending from earmarks and add-ons in FY 2007 and 2008.
Bi-partisan Fiscal Discipline: A McCain Administration will provide the leadership to achieve bipartisan spending restraint equivalent to that in the 1997 Balanced Budget Agreement between a GOP Congress and a Democratic President. In 1997, President Clinton and the GOP Congress agreed to balance the budget by restraining the growth in spending and cutting taxes over a ten-year period.
With the same bipartisan effort today, with the federal budget that is now 70 percent larger, we could keep taxes low and still balance the budget by holding overall spending growth to 2.4 percent. Unlike Congress and the Executive branch in recent years, a McCain Administration will enforce the spending restraint to balance the budget and keep it balanced.
A McCain Administration would perform a comprehensive review of all programs, projects and activities of the federal government, and then propose a plan to modernize, streamline, consolidate, reprioritize and, where needed, terminate individual programs. McCain could use the bi-partisan commission structure used for the Defense Base Realignment and Closure Commission (BRAC). Such a commission could be required to report to the President who would then submit the recommendations to the Congress for a straight up or down vote.
A McCain Administration will review all special spending provisions to end subsidies to high-income individuals and corporations
Eliminating Wasteful Spending
Stop Earmarks, Pork-Barrel Spending, And Waste: John McCain will veto every pork-laden spending bill and make their authors famous. As President, he will seek the line-item veto to reduce waste and eliminate earmarks that have led to corruption. Earmarks restrict America's ability to address genuine national priorities and interfere with fair, competitive markets. Leadership, Courage And Choices: Reducing spending means making choices. John McCain will provide the courageous leadership necessary to control spending, including:
Eliminate broken government programs. The federal government itself admits that one in five programs do not perform.
Reform our civil service system to promote accountability and good performance in our federal workforce.
Reform procurement programs and cut wasteful spending in defense and non-defense programs.
Reforming Entitlement Programs For The 21st Century
Reform Social Security: John McCain will fight to save the future of Social Security, and he believes that we may meet our obligations to the retirees of today and the future without raising taxes. John McCain supports supplementing the current Social Security system with personal accounts - but not as a substitute for addressing benefit promises that cannot be kept. John McCain will reach across the aisle to address these challenges, but if the Democrats do not act, he will. No problem is in more need of honesty than the looming financial challenges of entitlement programs. Americans have the right to know the truth and John McCain will not leave office without fixing the problems that threaten our future prosperity and power. Control Medicare Growth: The growth of spending on Medicare threatens our fiscal future. John McCain has proposed comprehensive health care reforms that will reduce the growth in Medicare spending, improve the quality of care, protect seniors against rising Medicare premium payments, and preserve the advancements in medical science central to providing quality care.