Obama tweaks tax plan after McCain criticism

Seems that the Obama campaign has taken some of Sen. McCain’s criticism to heart and decided to tweak a section of their tax plan to include a work requirement. The change was made mainly because McCain had been calling Sen. Obama’s proposal a form of “welfare” because it refunded money back to many citizens who do not pay taxes to begin with.

Report from ABC News

ABC News’ Teddy Davis, Hope Ditto, Arnab Datta, and Ferdous Alfaruque Report:

Facing criticism from John McCain that his tax plan constitutes “welfare,” Barack Obama recently added a work requirement to one of his proposals.

“They started saying this was welfare,” said Obama adviser Austan Goolsbee. “So, just so they would absolutely not be able to say that, we decided that for the last two percent we’ll simply add a work requirement.”

Goolsbee discussed the change to Obama’s universal mortgage credit while debating McCain adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin at the Council on Foreign Relations on Tuesday.

The purpose of Obama’s 10 percent universal mortgage credit is to aid taxpayers who do not itemize when filing taxes. The Obama campaign estimates that it would provide an average of $500 to 10 million homeowners, the majority of whom earn less than $50,000 per year.

Goolsbee referred to the number of non-working Americans who would benefit from the original understanding of Obama’s plan as an insignificant “sliver” when compared to the much larger number of working Americans who would benefit from Obama’s plan.

Although the number of non-working beneficiaries would have been just a “sliver” under the original understanding of Obama’s plan, Goolsbee said the Democratic nominee’s economic team decided to add a work requirement to it in order to block McCain from being able to characterize any aspect of his plan as “welfare.”

“When did this change? I’m just curious,” an incredulous Holtz-Eakin asked Goolsbee.

“About two weeks ago,” replied Goolsbee, adding that when the proposal was announced in September 2007, 98 percent of its benefits went to workers.

Nothing too major, however, it may illustrate that the Obama campaign fears McCain’s “welfare” criticism could catch hold with some voters.

Sound off below..

  • Obama’s Campaign has been really slick about addressing complaints/critiques throughout the entire process (primary and currently). Whenever there is a policy problem that could provide mileage– or a stance that could hurt Obama, it seems as though he amends it. While I appreciate his campaign appearing “open” to criticism, I am wary of his apparently convenient ability to act as a political chameleon at times — and for those who feel I being a bit flippant, one would only have to look at his changes to his stance on health care, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and Palestinian Rights.

  • Babs

    Well, Michael, for once we agree. Obama “tweaks” when it is politically expedient. Just imagine what he’ll do when he no longer has to keep any of these policies. Kinda scary, isn’t it?

  • Stalin

    I’m going to print out Michael’s post. I want to frame it on my wall. It may never happen again.

  • Babs

    I know, I was thinking the same thing. You see why Obama is pushing for the early vote so strongly? When someone like Michael can finally see through the game, anyone can.

  • 🙂 you guys. During the debates when I was in the chatroom with Nate, I critiqued both Obama and McCain, and I have made a few critiques about Obama in the past– albeit, far and few between.

  • Babs

    Yes, few and far between indeed. 😉

    By the way, this particular “tweaking” will not fall on deaf ears. It alienates another portion of his followers – that large sector on welfare that thought the free ride was coming. Of course, I believe it still will. Obama has so many economic policies, you can just throw a dart and hit the one you want.

    Of course, if he sticks to this new tweak, he can’t say “95% of Americans” anymore, either.

  • Will

    “Well, Michael, for once we agree. Obama “tweaks” when it is politically expedient. Just imagine what he’ll do when he no longer has to keep any of these policies. Kinda scary, isn’t it? ”

    Babs, you mean like how McCain USED TO oppose Bush’s tax cut for the rich back in 2000?


    How convenient he is NOW for tax cuts for the wealthy. McCain’s a good man, I don’t doubt that, but I think the republicans threw him under the bus knowing they’d lose to the democrats


    There were reasons why in 2000, that McCain did not support Bush’s tax cuts. He said spending needed to get under control first. well I think we can all see how liberals in congress have taken spending the past 2 years, just think about a Obama, Pelosi, Reed presidency, everything Obama says on taxes is not true and with Pelosi (an ugly bitch) and Reid our country is doomed.

  • There would and should be questions asked if things don’t get tweaked, as situations change all the time. McCains reluctance to change things around is one of his weaknesses.

    O_S you’re too funny, but you won’t be laughing in 2 weeks when you wake up having backed the wrong horse. There’s still time to jump ship, as in every Republican there’s a Democrat trying to get out…LOL

  • Odonata28

    Personally, I would much rather have a president who listens openly to constructive criticism, takes it to heart and is willing to make those changes to improve an idea.

    We all have seen how well stubbornly standing next to your failing policy works. Cementing yourself to an idea, good or bad is never good. Things that may seem to make sense today won’t make sense in 10 years, 100 years……

  • Will


    To be more specific in terms of where I’m coming from, McCain says, and I’m paraphrasing this, “If you’re doing well, then I don’t see a problem to pay a little bit more in taxes”. Isn’t that the same thing Obama/Biden is saying? Yet one (of the many) rebuttal(s) from the McCain camp is: Why should somebody who’s well off be penalized?

  • EricF

    yeah im pretty sure if this was McCain you would all say he is acting erratic or something about being too old. give me a break.

  • Bill Hedges

    Will- you should give direct quote of McCain’s statement, if you want someone else to respond ..Your paraphase may put another light on his true statement.

  • Bill Hedges

    Will-Let me give you an example. On CNN Sarah was intervewed. The reporter read a statement from THE NATIONAL REVIEW. Reporter said that was proof that some conservaatives did not like her….. In truth, the qoute was incomplete. THE NATIONAL REVIEW reporter was not properly quoted. The next sentance was left out, which changed quote to being in favor of Sarah….. By the way, so far CNN says they will not correct their reporter’s error.

  • Bill Hedges

    Will- The writer from THE NATIONAL REVIEW came on Fox News varify he was incorecly quoted or imcomple quote was used..

  • Babs

    You see how Obama supporters turn a blind eye to anything negative concerning Obama? Obama didn’t change the plan because he thought it would improve it, it changed it because it was being perceived as welfare, which is what it is.

    McCain was right in the second debate when he said: ‘Trying to nail down Sen. Obama’s tax plan is like trying to nail jello to the wall. He’s had 4 or 5, and if you don’t like any of those, just wait, he’ll have another one out in a few days’.

    McCain was right………..again.

  • Odonata28

    EricF – no, I don’t think so. I have always wanted someone in the office who had the strength of character to admit they were not perfect and could make the changes necessary to improve their ideas.

    McCain however has done a COMPLETE 180, which is different than “tweaking” an idea. Here are 10 examples:


    However, I am not calling him erratic. I will call him a politician. He is doing what he thinks he needs to do to win this election. That’s all.

  • Bill Hedges

    Od– Just as you said, McCain has done a 180 degree turn. So has the economy. McCain made the changes necesary to the changing cercumstances.

  • EricF

    Odonata28 i have a bridge for sale, interested? 😛

  • Stalin


    “I have always wanted someone in the office who had the strength of character to admit they were not perfect and could make the changes necessary to improve their ideas.”

    What do you think of Obama’s unwillingness to admit that he was wrong on the surge?

  • Will

    Bill – Spare me your examples. I posted a video link, if you’re too lazy to see your candidate flip flop that’s your problem. My point is clear and is not taking his stance (against Bush’s tax cut proposal) back in 2000 out of context.

  • Odonata28

    Stalin –

    We are not out of Iraq. As far as I am concerned the surge did not work.

    What do you think of Bush’s unwillingness to admit that he was wrong to go into Iraq to begin with?

    Which one is worse? Which path will McCain choose?

  • Will

    Bill – Your example was horrible nor does it remotely relate to my post. There was no direct quote on your part either on what the exact statement the person made. I clearly said I was paraphrasing too and did not misquote him. Please take some time and practice what you preach.



    You must be the biggest loon out their if you are going to say the surge did not work!?! We are not out of Iraq because you can not just pick up and leave a new young democracy especially a weak one like Iraq is in its beginning stages. Troops leave when the facts on the ground and generals say they can. I am always amazed at how liberals seem to know nothing about war, except the death toll.

  • Stalin


    Please explain how the surge did not work. I think you are letting partisanship cloud your judgement.

  • Babs – “You see how Obama supporters turn a blind eye to anything negative concerning Obama?”

    And I’m guessing you’re now going to enlighten us with a long list of everything you disagree with McCain and Palin…NO? well there’s a shocker.

  • Dreadsen

    This is why McCain said he didn’t support Bush’s tax cuts.
    He said that it favored the wealthiest of americans and it didn’t benefit the middle class.

    Behold. McCain the “Socialist”


    You all better hope he isn’t hiding this agenda. if so you alll are both going to get the same tax plan no matter which one gets into office.