The Los Angeles Times on McCain's promise to balance the budget by the end of his first term: "McCain's pledge also defied skepticism among fiscal analysts over whether he could balance the budget even within eight years, the more relaxed standard he set for himself in April amid dismal economic forecasts. Many say his proposed expansion of President Bush's tax cuts would put that goal out of reach."
The New York Times: "But it is unclear how Mr. McCain intends to balance the budget. Fiscal analysts who have examined Mr. McCain's plans say his calls to extend President Bush's tax cuts and cut corporate and other taxes without calling for comparable spending cuts could increase the federal budget deficit significantly. The tug of war between wanting steep tax cuts and trying to make sure the government spends no more than it takes in has been a theme this year as Mr. McCain's economic thinking and policies have evolved."
The Los Angeles Times looks at the cost of Obama's promised agenda. "In more than a year of campaigning, Barack Obama has made a long list of promises for new federal programs costing tens of billions of dollars, many of them aimed at protecting people from the pain of a souring economy. But if he wins the presidency, Obama will be hard-pressed to keep his blueprint intact. A variety of budget analysts are skeptical that the Democrat's agenda could survive in the face of large federal budget deficits and the difficulty of making good on his plan to raise new revenue by closing tax loopholes, ending the Iraq war and cutting spending that is deemed low-priority."
More: "Obama's staff thinks that ending the Iraq war would free up money -- at least $90 billion a year -- that could be redirected to the new government programs… Some budget experts say even a speedy end to the war would not give Obama much money for new programs." Also: Other new sources of revenue in Obama's plan include about $80 billion a year from closing tax loopholes and $100 billion from a variety of cuts in spending and revised government procurement rules. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center examined Obama's plans to eliminate tax loopholes and said it could not confirm the projected savings."
The AP: "Who is to blame and how best to fix it? They part ways on that, as they made clear in dueling economic speeches yesterday on the issue that has taken center stage in their presidential contest. Obama said that McCain offers a third term of President Bush's policies… McCain has been forced into a more defensive crouch because his party has held the White House while jobs, home values, stock prices, and consumer confidence have tumbled. …While calling Obama's plans expensive and unwise, he tried to distance himself from President Bush where he could. …McCain has said the economy is not his strong suit, and yesterday he seemed eager to show a deeper understanding of the topic, even as he dismissed specialists."
The Washington Post front-pages McCain's and Obama's position on Social Security. "McCain's aides said he favors a bipartisan approach and is open to working with Congress on finding a solution to the long-term solvency of the New Deal-era program, indicating he could support an array of ideas such as raising the retirement age, reducing scheduled increases in benefits and allowing younger workers to put money they currently pay for Social Security taxes into personal savings accounts. President Bush floated a similar idea for private accounts in 2005, but polls found it had little public support."
"Obama has been even more specific. The Democrat from Illinois has proposed raising taxes on upper-income Americans to address projected shortfalls in Social Security, but his plan has been greeted with skepticism, even from some in his own party." More: "Some Democrats are questioning Obama's decision to address Social Security at all. The program is expected to bring in less in taxes than it disburses in benefits sometime in the next decade, although the Social Security Board of Trustees estimates that interest on the program's bond holdings will keep it from running a deficit until at least 2041."