Continued from page 2

c Create a $60 billion National Infrastructure Bank to directly fund state and local public works and transportation projects for roads, bridges and rail systems - creating an estimated two million jobs.

c Spend $150 billion over 10 years on “clean energy” technology projects to develop biofuels and plug-in hybrid cars that he forecasts would over time create an estimated 5 million jobs.

Scoring their plans

Not surprisingly, there is substantial disagreement among economists and analysts about whose program would yield the most economic growth. Liberals support Mr. Obama’s plans, and conservatives support Mr. McCain’s.

“McCain’s regressive economic agenda would redistribute wealth to the richest Americans during a period of stagnating wages and growing economic anxiety,” says an analysis by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a liberal advocacy group supporting Mr. Obama.

“The bottom 60 percent of taxpayers would see only 12 percent of the benefit from McCain’s plan to extend the Bush tax cuts, while over 100 million middle-class households would receive nothing from McCain’s proposal,” the analysis said.

“At the end of the day, Obama’s proposals have been scored and he comes out better,” Mr. Litan said. “His proposals are more paid for than those under McCain.

“You are going to have more bang for the buck if you get money into the hands of low- to middle-income people than giving money to businesses and higher income people,” he said.

But a recent analysis by the Heritage Foundation’s Center for Data Analysis concludes that Mr. McCain’s plan would stimulate more economic growth than the Obama plan. Among its chief findings:

“Job growth over 10 years is more than twice as high under McCain’s tax plan than Obama’s. Total employment grows an average of 915,800 jobs under Obama, and by 2.13 million under McCain,” the analysis found

Economic growth, as measured by the country’s gross domestic product, would be “nearly three times higher than under Obama,” and a family of four “would see an average of $5,138 more in disposable income under McCain’s plan, compared with $3,632 more under Obama’s,” according to the study.

A key weakness in Mr. Obama’s income-redistribution tax plan stems from his decision to give lower- to middle-income taxpayers a refundable tax credit (that they can deduct from their tax bill) instead of cutting their tax rates, said Heritage Foundation analyst William W. Beach, who led the study.

“Because Senator Obama relies largely on tax credits to achieve this redistribution, his plan does not find a large economic benefit from lower tax rates, nor a more efficient tax structure,” Mr. Beach wrote.

“This lower economic performance stems in large part from the modest decreases in marginal tax rates on taxpayers earning less than $250,000 and increases in those rates above that level,” he said.