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Tuesday, October 28

Little Man in the Boat

And NO, it's not what you're thinking. Kindly get your mind out of the gutter, please.

I am speaking metaphorically.

The Little Man is John McCain.

The Boat is his campaign.

And it seems that everyone is poking a hole in his boat. If it's not journalists, it's the Obama campaign; if it's not bloggers, it's his own campaign staff.

Case in point:

A fellow named Douglas Holtz-Eakin, McCain's senior economic adviser, was interviewed by CNN Money concerning the McCain health care plan. Under the plan:

"...employees would get taxed on the value of their health insurance, which on average costs $12,680 per year for a family, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Workers pay an average of $3,354 in premiums, while their employers cover the rest. Most employees have their premiums deducted from their paychecks without paying tax on them. So, if you make $50,000, you are likely paying tax on only $46,646 of income.Under McCain, your taxable income would rise to $59,326. If you were in the 25% tax bracket, it would mean an additional $3,170 in taxes.But this increase would be knocked back by the $5,000 tax credit. So in the end, you'd actually have $1,830 to put in a health savings account, which could be used to cover premiums and other medical expenses."

Now there's a definite problem with this, and only a minor part of it is the fact that you'd be paying taxes on your health care. Taking out the tax advantage of employer-based health care benefits would result in higher taxes and some employers might drop health benefits completely.

Enter Douglas Holtz-Eakin. When asked whether employees would take advantage of McCain's proffered $5,000 tax incentive, Holtz-Eakin was all too ready to poke a hole in The Boat:

"Why would they leave?" said Holtz-Eakin. "What they are getting from their employer is way better than what they could get with the credit."

You just have to admire people who stay on message.

Right now, with just about a week to go in The Great Presidential Contest of 2008, McCain's campaign boat is looking like a nice healthy chunk of Swiss Cheese.

And try as he might, Captain (USN, ret.) McCain can't play Little Dutch Boy forever. Not with people like his own aides poking holes every time they open their mouths.

Glub ... glub ... glub ...

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