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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

National Review Editors Not Buying what Huck's Selling

In an editorial titled "Right Questions; Wrong Answers" the National Review has crossed Mike Huckabee off their list.
What Republicans need is a new domestic policy to address today’s concerns.

Unfortunately, what Huckabee offers by way of solutions is a mixture of populism and big-government liberalism; the common theme of his policies is that they are half-baked. If an ill-considered slogan can be used to justify a policy, he is for it. He is a protectionist, because we need to have “fair trade.” He wants to put illegal immigrants on a path to citizenship, because we need them “to do jobs that are going unfilled because nobody here wants to do them.” Energy subsidies and farm subsidies must be increased, because they’re a matter of “national security.”

When he was governor of Arkansas, these instincts led Huckabee to move farther and farther in a statist direction. (Education policy offers a nice example of what happens when his statism and his social conservatism conflict: He opposes meaningful school choice.) The Cato Institute gave him a D on fiscal policy, noting that spending had increased at three times the rate of inflation during his governorship. Not surprisingly, Huckabee is the one Republican candidate who flinched when President Bush vetoed the Democrats’ proposed expansion of S-CHIP. He says he is against socialized medicine, but don’t look for him to resist the drift toward it.

On domestic issues Huckabee makes one major departure from welfare-state liberalism, and it is a doozy. He says he is “running to completely eliminate all federal income and payroll taxes,” by implementing a national sales tax: “When the FairTax becomes law, it will be like waving a magic wand releasing us from pain and unfairness.” This proposal would almost certainly make a presidential nominee unelectable. But even if he got elected, it would be impossible to deliver. To bar the door on the income tax we would need to amend the Constitution. Otherwise we would end up with the income tax and Huckabee’s sales tax. We would call it a pipe dream, if Huckabee weren’t so anti-smoking.

Several of the Republican presidential candidates share Huckabee’s views on abortion and same-sex marriage. On domestic-policy issues, however, he stands alone. Thankfully.
"Ouch, Ouch, and OUCH" I hear the Huckabee camp's cries as they take those body blows.

The people of Iowa need to be educated about that Fair Tax argument . . . and the inherent hypocrisy that Huck has signed on to the "No New Taxes" pledge . . . but is promising to break it if he can with this Fair Tax. I think Mikey has some "splanin" to do, eh?


Ian said...

More and more, Mike Huckabee is what leadership looks like. He's an adroit public speaker, and he communicates his message in life-like, cogent terms, with compelling examples like the story he told (at the Ames Straw Poll) of what his then-11-yo daughter entered into the "Comments" section of a Visitors Book after visiting the Yad Vashem holocaust museum: “Why didn't somebody do something?” Very effective.

Huckabee is all about calling his listeners to "do something," to awaken them to their own empowerment, and summon them to action in order that "Main Street," and not "Wall Street," will prevail in guarding the values and beliefs upon which the Republic was founded.

Huckabee puts his listeners at ease, and reassures them, articulating clear concepts in a natural, easy style (no doubt something well-cultivated as a pastor). He’s not as “mechanically-scripted” as Romney, nor angry or demanding, like a Ron Paul, and his large brown eyes, peering through a humble demeanor, draw a striking contrast to a unconvincing, tired-looking Thompson. One can easily imagine sitting comfortably with Mike over a cup of coffee at the Main Street Cafe.

Most importantly, perhaps, Huckabee convinces many that he is ONE with the FairTax grassroots movement. While many - like Romney, and others, who are invested in the current income tax system - seek to demagog the well-researched FairTax plan, its acceptance in the professional / academic community continues to grow. Renown economist Laurence Kotlikoff believes that failure to enact the FairTax - choosing instead to try to "flatten" what he deems to be a non-flattenable income tax system - will eventuate into an irrevocable economic meltdown because of the hidden aspects of the current system that make political accountability impossible.

Romney's recent WEAK response to FairTax questioning on “This Week with Geo. Stephanopoulos” drew a sharper contrast between Huckabee and all other presidential front-runners who will not embrace it. Huckabee understands that what's wrong with the income tax can't be fixed with "a tap of the hammer, nor a twist of the screwdriver." That his opponents cling to the destructive Tax Code, the IRS, preserving political power of granting tax favors at continued cost to - and misery of - American families, invigorates his campaign's raison d'etre.

Of the FairTax, Huckabee asserts that it's...

• SIMPLE, easy to understand
• EFFICIENT, inexpensive to comply with and doesn't cause less-than-optimal business decisions for tax minimization purposes
• FAIR, FLAT, and FAMILY FRIENDLY, loophole-free, and everyone pays their share
• LOW TAX RATE is achieved by broad base with no exclusions
• PREDICTABLE, doesn't change, so financial planning is possible
• UNINTRUSIVE, doesn't intrude into our personal affairs or limit our liberty
• VISIBLE, not hidden from the public in tax-inflated prices or otherwise
• PRODUCTIVE, rewards - rather than penalizes - work and productivity

A detailed benefits analysis of the plan (from The FairTax Book) explains Huckabee's ardent advocacy:

For individuals:
• No more tax on income - make as much as you wish
• You receive your full paycheck - no more deductions
• You pay the tax when you buy "at retail" - not "used"
• No more double taxation (e.g. like on current Capital Gains)
• Reduction of "pre-FairTaxed" retail prices by 20%-30%
• Adding back 29.9% FairTax maintains current price levels
• FairTax would constitute 23% portion of new prices
• Every household receives a monthly check, or "pre-bate"
• "Prebate" is "advance tax payback" for monthly consumption to poverty level
• FairTax's "prebate" ensures progressivity, poverty protection
Finally, citizens are knowledgeable of what their tax IS
• Elimination of "parasitic" Income Tax industry
• Those possessing illicit forms of income will ALSO pay the FairTax
• Households have more disposable income to purchase goods
• Savings is bolstered with reduction of interest rates

For businesses:
• Corporate income and payroll taxes revoked under FairTax
• Business compensated for collecting tax at "cash register"
• No more tax-related lawyers, lobbyists on company payrolls
No more embedded (hidden) income/payroll taxes in prices
• Reduced costs. Competition - not tax policy - drives prices
• Off-shore "tax haven" headquarters can now return to U.S
No more "favors" from politicians at expense of taxpayers
• Resources go to R&D and study of competition - not taxes
• Global "free (and equitable) trade" becomes possible for currently-disadvanted U.S. exports
• U.S. exports increase their share of foreign markets

For the country:
• 7% - 13% economic growth projected in the first year of the FairTax
Jobs return to the U.S.
• Foreign corporations "set up shop" in the U.S.
• Tax system trends are corrected to "enlarge the pie"
• Larger economic "pie," means thinner tax rate "slices"
• Initial 23% portion of price is pressured downward as "pie" increases
No more "closed door" tax deals by politicians and business
• FairTax sets new global standard. Other countries will follow

Passionately supporting FairTax, Huckabee understands that, if elected President, Congress will have to present the bill for his signature. His call to action goes beyond his candidacy: Main Street will have to demand that their legislators deliver the bill.

(Permission is granted to reproduce, in whole or part. - Ian)

Nealie Ride said...


Your post is too long, too boring, and likely too inaccurate to read.

I'll keep my comments short. Huck can't win. Good luck with future writing.

Ian said...

The key, nealie, to read my post before you've had the turkey. That ole tryptophan in the turkey meat will make you sleepy.

Wake up! It's time for you to keep the fruits of your labor, and pay taxes in the process of meeting your, and your family's, needs.

After you study the clicks in my previous post, hopefullly you'll see things a bit more clearly. With Romney, Giuliani, and Thompson - it's theIRS on your back.

Now, enjoy the bird, and your family, on this Thanksgiving Day.