John McCain, who’s had his problems with keeping a straight record on tax cuts, this weekend flipped back on taxes, saying he won’t rule out any options for working on Social Security, including higher taxes. This is from his interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos:
“MR. STEPHANOPOULOS: So that means payroll tax increases are on the table as well?
SEN. MCCAIN: There is nothing that’s off the table. I have my positions and I’ll articulate them, but nothing’s off the table. I don’t want tax increases. Of course I’d like to have young Americans have some of their money put into an account with their name on it. But that doesn’t mean that anything is off the table —”
That’s pretty tough to reconcile with his categorical rejection last year to Ramesh Ponnuru of National Review, who asked if he would be open to tax increases for entitlement reform, if it got Democrats to the table.
PONNURU: If you could get the Democrats to agree, or at least to come to the table on
entitlements or on tax simplification, are those circumstances under which you’d be
willing to accept a tax increase?
SEN. MCCAIN: No; no.
PONNURU: No circumstances?
SEN MCCAIN: No. None. None. Tax cuts, starting with Kennedy, as we all know,
increase revenues. So what’s the argument for increasing taxes? If you get the opposite
effect out of tax cuts?”
“No circumstances?” “No. None. None.”
Well, maybe some.
(Americans for Tax Reform has some other instances of McCain ruling out increases.)
— Stephen Dinan, national political correspondent, The Washington Times