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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

World’s Nicest Nightmare

On MSNBC Wednesday morning, senior McCain advisor Nicolle Wallace said that John McCain won’t cut taxes for corporations, and that in fact he is “their worst nightmare.”

The quote is at about 5:10 in the above video, but if you rewind a bit, you’ll see host Joe Scarborough grilling Obama strategist Robert Gibbs on why Obama’s not proposing corporate tax cuts. Scarborough points out that other countries are reducing taxes on corporations and says that equivalent tax cuts are necessary to keep the U.S. competitive; Obama’s tax increases, he says, could undermine American businesses. So Wallace’s tack — saying that McCain isn’t for cutting corporate taxes either — is a bit mystifying. But is it true?

Not remotely. McCain proposes gradually reducing the maximum corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 25 percent. According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, that change would reduce tax revenues by $231 billion dollars in the first four years.

Whether that would make businesses more competitive or just line CEOs’ pockets is a matter of debate. And Wallace went on to say that McCain has fought corporate corruption and sounded an early alarm on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, neither of which is flatly false (though we did raise some questions about McCain’s claims of financial prescience). But when it comes to taxes, Wallace must have been dreaming when she said McCain was corporations’ worst nightmare.