Monday, October 27, 2008

You've Heard McCain and Obama--What Do the Other Parties Say?

  • Nader's position

  • Green Party position

  • Constitution Party position

  • Libertarian party position

  • A number of bloggers have posted on the tax platforms of Barack Obama and John McCain. so I thought it might be interesting to see what four would-be third parties propose on the tax front. The Constititution Party and Ralph Nader's Independent candidacy had the greatest level of detail. The Constitution Party favored the elimination of income, estate and payroll taxes, opposed flat-rate and value-added taxes and supported a system dominated by tariffs with provision for "state-rate" taxes (taxes based on a state's population) and highway excise taxes. Nader/Gonzales favored a "carbon pollution" tax, "sin" taxes on alcohol, tobacco and gambling, a transaction tax for sales of stocks, bonds and similar financial instruments, and the elimination of special tax rates for capital gains and dividends. Less verbose were the Green Party and, surprisingly, the Libertarians. All I could find on Green Party tax policy was support for a tax structure which leveled the economic playing field and which reversed corporate control of the economy. Libertarian party platform item 2.4 called for the repeal of the income tax (like the Constitution Party), elimination of using employers to collect taxes and balancing the budget by reducing federal spending.

    There is no chance that any of these parties will win the 2008 election; in fact, any of them reaching the 5% threshold for qualifying for federal campaign financing would be a major upset. Nevertheless, "minor" party platform positions are sometimes adopted by larger parties later on--one could even argue that McCain's "spending freeze" is a variation on the Libertarian balancing budget by cutting spending plank. I could certainly see a Nader tax idea adopted by the Democrats at some future point; less likely would be a strong Republican candidate adopting a Constitutional or Libertarian tax position.


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