Candidates' fiscal plans: both bad

This editorial appeared in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Despite John McCain's reputation for straight talk, we're not hearing much from him on tax policy. Then again, Barack Obama has not been much better. Both senators are proposing tax plans that would dig the federal budget hole trillions of dollars deeper.

An analysis of the candidates' plans by the Tax Policy Center, a joint project of the Urban Institute and the Brookings Institution, concluded that McCain's tax ideas would crank up the national debt by $5 trillion over the next decade. Obama's plans would increase the debt by $3.4 trillion. The campaigns complain the center doesn't factor in their plans for budget-cutting, but we're skeptical McCain and Obama could cut enough to make up the yawning gaps in their accounting.

Besides that, neither candidate is proposing substantive solutions for reforming Medicare and Social Security, the cost of which is about to balloon and put severe stress on government finances.