WASHINGTON — Presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain blasted Democratic rival Barack Obama's economic policies on Tuesday, calling them bad for small business and American families.
While outlining his own economic plans to the National Federation of Independent Business, which represents small businesses, McCain criticized Obama for vowing to renegotiate provisions of the North America Free Trade Agreement, proposing a tax increase for Americans making over $250,000 and for advocating a greater government role in the nation's health care system.
"No matter which of us wins in November, there will be change in Washington," McCain said. "The question is what kind of change. Will we enact the single largest tax increase since the second world war, as my opponent proposes, or will we keep taxes low for families and employers?"
Obama's campaign accused McCain of distorting Obama's proposals. Jason Furman, Obama's economic policy director, acknowledged that taxes would increase for families with annual incomes of more than $250,000.
"You're talking about less than 2 percent of the population," he said, adding that those affected would feel less of a tax burden than they did during the Clinton administration.
McCain's speech came a day after Obama attacked McCain's economic strategies, calling them an extension of President Bush's administration. McCain, in turn, described Obama's economic ideas as a return to failed Democratic policies of the 1960s and '70s.
Obama said he wants to end Bush's tax cuts for upper-income workers, impose a tax on windfall oil profits and provide a $1,000 tax cut for middle class taxpayers.
"Under Sen. Obama's tax plan, Americans of every background would see their taxes rise — seniors, parents, small business owners and just about everyone who has even a modest investment in the market," McCain said.
McCain accused Obama of "talking down" the value of free trade agreements like NAFTA.
On health care, McCain criticized Obama for proposing a plan that he says would expand the federal government's role.