This is a rush transcript from "America's Election HQ," September 29, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
ALEXIS GLICK, CO-ANCHOR: The truth about taxes: John McCain has been campaigning with an overall anti-tax proposal. On the flipside, Barack Obama is calling for more taxes on the rich and lower taxes for the majority of taxpayers.
Well, the candidates going back and forth on the issue today:
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. JOHN MCCAIN, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: He is a fan of all that spending because he is always cheering for higher taxes or against tax relief, and he voted 94 times either to raise your taxes or raise spending. My friends, he never voted to cut your taxes.
SEN. BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: My opponent doesn't want you to know this, but under my plan, tax rates will actually be less than they were under Ronald Reagan. If you make less than a quarter million dollars a year, you will not see your taxes increase one single dime. In fact, I offer three times the tax relief for middle class families as Sen. McCain does.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GLICK: Well, some analysts are now saying expect higher taxes, no matter who wins the White House. So now, with the news of the House rejecting the bailout, what is really likely to happen with your money in the next four years?
• Video: Watch Alexis Glick's interview
Leonard Burman is here. He is a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and the director of the non-partisan Tax Policy Center. Good evening.
Len, you know, it's hard not to listen to what they have to say and wonder whether or not it really matters at this point. We've got a historically large federal budget deficit on our hands. Is any of this, frankly, possible?
LEONARD BURMAN, DIRECTOR, TAX POLICY CENTER: It's a little bit hard to tell. Reality hasn't governed tax policy for a long time. With running deficits, spending has been outstripping taxes and we've been cutting taxes. We hope this would be a wakeup call, that if Washington behaves the same way Wall Street does, that we're going to have a huge collapse and there won't be anybody to bail us out.
GLICK: So what is the main difference between the two plans? And are we potentially reliving 1992 where we can say that we're going to do a lot but when we're in office, things change?
BURMAN: It's hard to tell what happens when they take office. The big difference between the two plans is that Sen. McCain would basically extend all of the Bush tax cuts except for the estate tax, which he would trim but not eliminate. And he would cut corporate taxes.
Sen. Obama would extend most of the Bush tax cuts except for the very highest income people, which he would return the rates to what they were in 2001. He also has a number of tax cuts from middle income households. There's a credit for working, and he would exempt most seniors from tax.
Both of them would increase the deficit pretty dramatically. Sen. Obama would increase it by about $3.6 trillion over the next 10 years and McCain by about $5 trillion.
GLICK: So Len, let me address what I was, you know, suggesting here about the Clinton era when Clinton was brought into office or elected into office, I should say. You know, he ran on the economy stupid and he promised a lot of fantastic tax cuts. And then he went in and sat down with his economic team and they had a reality check.
Are we are going to potentially face that? I mean, now we're talking about $700 billion on top of already a large budget deficit. Is that the future?
BURMAN: It's really hard to predict. I mean, it should be that all of the tax cuts that they promised are with borrowed money. And they're just going to have to be paid back in the future with higher taxes. I don't have a crystal ball so I don't know what they will actually do when they take office.
GLICK: All right. Well, Len Burman, director of the Tax Policy Center, we will leave it there. We thank you so much for joining us this evening.
BURMAN: Thank you, Alexis.
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