McCain and the Republican party have talked about taxes and spending, but I don't think they have been framing the debate very well. McCain has talked about how Obama will raise taxes and how McCain will lower taxes, and of course the former thing is evil and the latter is good. I think what he and many Republicans have failed to do is to really get to the essence of why this is a good thing.
Democrats and swing voters are well aware that no one really likes to pay higher taxes, Biden's comments to the contrary.
First of all, I like the idea of lower taxes for other people making more money than myself because I think higher taxes for others affect me indirectly. I don't want to go too much into detail into the theory what more liberal people dismiss as "trickle-down" economics, but I sincerely believe that higher taxes on the rich can affect productivity, and therefore job creation for myself and for my children. Now, this argument can be taken to the extreme. Of course if we tax the rich .5%, we won't get very much tax revenue, but the same goes when we tax at 99.5%, simply because productivity would grind to a halt. So, there is an optimal point somewhere in between, and I tend to think it may be in the teens.
Secondly, though, is that I believe that the tax rate and amount of spending is a representation of how we view the role of government. If we believe in lower taxes and less spending, both in overall amount and where it goes, of course we believe that government should have a limited role.
Unfortunately, McCain and Republicans running for office in Colorado focus on the lower taxes and less spending, but they don't focus on why this is so important. As far as average voter knows, they are in the pockets of the rich people. They have focused on my first point, the productivity argument, but not so much on the idea of why limited government is a good thing. McCain did touch a little bit on this in the final debate concerning health care, but he hasn't focused on the overall principles of limited government that resonate with more voters than we realize. It seemed like Reagan did focus on this. Even though Reagan supported a sizable military, he still talked about the idea of the government leaving people alone and believing in the sweat and ingenuity of the average American person. McCain, however, is just focusing on the possible results of this, which are lower taxes and less spending, not the higher principles behind them.
Hopefully, this likely election loss for the Republican Party will help them rediscover and effectively communicate the ideals of a government that does less. Instead of pushing for lite government, they are currently pushing for Obama-lite government.