Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Huckabee's Fiscal Restraint?

One long-standing 2008 controversy is over the nature of Huckabee's tax hikes and cuts, the context, and impact they may have had on Arkansan voters. He has managed to make enemies with two influential organizations: the libertarian CATO Institute and the venerable conservative economic lobbying group the Club for Growth (the latter of which I'm a member).

I've long had criticisms on some Huckabee positions. The remarkably articulate Governor has gone Dan Quayle a couple of times on fiscal issues ("I support Free Trade, but it must be Fair Trade"), and his baseless income inequality rhetoric is disturbing.

However, as I learned when dealing with the customer relations desk at Wal-Mart, rhetoric is secondary to the bottom line. That line is policy action. Extraordinarily admirable policy stances such as the FairTax have earned a good deal of respect for the Governor from me. Nothing in the Club's report, when conisdered in context, would keep me from voting in for him in a general election.

Dick Morris, for whom I have limited respect--but occasionally he's insightful, had some interesting refutation in this week's column:

A recent column by Bob Novak excoriated Huckabee for a “47 percent increase in state tax burden.” But during Huckabee’s years in office, total state tax burden — all 50 states combined — rose by twice as much: 98 percent, increasing from $743 billion in 1993 to $1.47 trillion in 2005.

In Arkansas, the income tax when he took office was 1 percent for the poorest taxpayers and 7 percent for the richest, exactly where it stood when he left the statehouse 11 years later. But, in the interim, he doubled the standard deduction and the child care credit, repealed capital gains taxes for home sales, lowered the capital gains rate, expanded the homestead exemption and set up tax-free savings accounts for medical care and college tuition.

Most impressively, when he had to pass an income tax surcharge amid the drop in revenues after Sept. 11, 2001, he repealed it three years later when he didn’t need it any longer.

He raised the sales tax one cent in 11 years and did that only after the courts ordered him to do so. (He also got voter approval for a one-eighth-of-one-cent hike for parks and recreation.)

He wants to repeal the income tax, abolish the IRS and institute a “fair tax” based on consumption, and opposes any tax increase for Social Security.


The guy with smashed tail-bone and 4-wheeler. said...

How about that YouTube debate? 'Ole Huck was drawing fast wasn't he? I think he did great.

D. R.

Chazzmacelroy said...

It's nice to know that there is another conservative interested in politics out there trying to spread the word. It seems as though the movement has suffered quite a bit as the result of slanderous underhanded attacks by left-wingers and their "politics of compassion." However, like the late great Jack Kemp, I find that compassion should not be measured by the number of people with government assistance, I judge it by the number of people who do not need it. And, too, I like the fact that there is another fan of Whittaker Chambers out there.

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