John McCain's Weekly Radio Address:
Good morning. I'm John McCain, and this week I've been on the road in Colorado, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. I've been holding town hall meetings to talk over the subject on most everyone's minds these days -- our slowing economy.
More than 400,000 Americans have lost their jobs since December, and the rate of new job creation has fallen sharply. Americans are worried about the security of their current job, and they're worried that they, their kids and their neighbors may not find good jobs and new opportunities in the future. It's a big problem when gasoline, food, and other necessities of life carry the price tag of luxury goods, and that's what it feels like to millions of Americans.
I have a plan to grow this economy, and it starts with getting a handle on the cost of gasoline and regaining America's energy security. I believe we should immediately suspend the federal gas tax for the remainder of the summer driving season. We also have billions of dollars of oil in the United States, and vast reserves of natural gas as well. So we must commit to producing more of both, to send a message to the market and trigger lower prices for oil and gas.
We will develop more clean energy, and especially zero-emission nuclear energy. We will build at least 45 nuclear plants that will create over 700,000 good jobs to construct and operate them. At the same time, we will develop clean coal technology -- which alone will create tens of thousands of jobs in some of America's most hard-pressed areas.
Under my energy plan -- the Lexington Project -- we will also accelerate the development of wind and solar power and other renewable technologies. And we will help automakers design and sell cars that don't depend on gasoline. Production of hybrid, flex-fuel, and electric cars will bring America closer to energy independence. And it will bring jobs to auto plants, parts manufacturers, and the communities that support them.
My opponent has an answer to the Lexington Project, and it's "no": No to more drilling, no to more nuclear power, no to more use of coal. For a guy whose "official seal" carried the motto, "Yes, we can," Senator Obama's agenda sure has a whole lot of "No, we can't."
We need to think as well about small businesses and the jobs they create. Small businesses are the job engine of America, and I will make it easier for them to grow and hire more workers.
My opponent would make it harder by imposing a healthcare mandate that will add a crushing $12,000 to the cost of employing anyone with a family. My plan attacks the real problems of health care -- cost, availability and portability.
In an economic downturn, the worst of all ideas is to raise taxes. And Senator Obama will do just that. If you are one of the 23 million small business owners who files as an individual rate payer, watch out -- because as your business grows, my opponent proposes to raise your taxes. If you have an investment for your child's education or own a mutual fund or a stock in a retirement plan, watch out -- because Senator Obama intends to nearly double the taxes on capital gains. He will raise estate taxes to 45 percent. I propose to cut them to 15 percent. For those of you with children, I will double the child deduction from $3,500 to $7,000 for every dependent, in every family in America.
To promote job creation, we must also get government's fiscal house in order. Government has grown by 60 percent in the last eight years, because this Congress and this Administration have failed to meet their responsibilities. When I'm president, I will order a stem to stern review of government, and I will veto every single bill with wasteful spending.
For his part, Senator Obama proposes to create sprawling new federal programs that will increase government spending even more. As for earmark spending, I have never asked for a single earmark in my entire career. In his Senate career, Senator Obama has requested some $930 million for earmark projects. That comes to more than a million dollars in pork for every working day since he became a United States Senator.
In America, the most important measure of the economy is the opportunity -- the chance for every man and woman to find a better life, and to make one better still for their children. That is all a part of the promise of our country. And if I am elected president, I will see that promise kept.
We're passing through a very tough time, my fellow Americans. But we've been through worse, and beaten longer odds. And very soon, we're going to get this economy running again at full strength.
Thanks for listening.