Saturday, January 12, 2008

Mike Huckabee On FairTax Plan in Michigan

Huckabee, a Baptist minister who won the Iowa caucuses backed by that state's large Christian conservative vote, has shifted his Michigan appeal to families worried about the continued economic malaise that affects the state. Referring to the state's "arsenal of democracy" legacy from World War II, Huckabee said the next president must make Michigan's woes a priority.

"There was a time in this country when Michigan saved America. Now it is time for America to help save Michigan," Huckabee told the state's economic elite. It was a potentially hostile crowd for Huckabee, who has criticized business and Republican leaders for failing to appreciate the problems of working Americans. His first ad to air in Michigan proclaims that voters want a president who doesn't remind them of "the guy who laid them off."

That rhetoric, and a record in Arkansas that includes tax and spending increases, have drawn the ire of the GOP's economic conservatives. Fred Thompson, who has bypassed Michigan but hopes to upend Huckabee in South Carolina's Jan. 19 primary, attacked Huckabee while campaigning there Friday, saying he is betraying the ideals of Ronald Reagan.

And the Club for Growth, an anti-tax, anti-spending group, is airing ads in Michigan attacking Huckabee.

He sought to defuse that criticism at the Economic Club.

"My goal is not to make rich people poor, it's to give poor people a shot at the American dream," he said.

"I am not trying to strangle business," Huckabee told reporters in a conference call after the speech. "It's my belief that the Republican Party should have policies that empower everybody from the CEO all the way down to the guy on the line."

Huckabee has been critical of the effects of international trade on American manufacturing jobs. But he said during the conference call that he supports a series of free-trade deals pending before Congress, including a treaty with South Korea that is opposed by Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC.

Huckabee touted his support for a tax reform plan known to its backers as FairTax. It would replace federal income and payroll taxes with a flat sales tax, which he says would stimulate the economy by simplifying the tax code and encouraging productivity.

"He's our best chance of getting the FairTax enacted," said Roger Buchholtz, the head of the movement's Michigan chapter.

But many independent analysts say the plan's supporters understate the tax rate that would be required, and that it would benefit more wealthy taxpayers at the expense of the less well-off.


Ian said...

Increasingly, 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?

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 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:

• No more tax on income - make as much as you wish
• FairTax is paid on retail goods and services when purchased new, not used

• You receive your full paycheck - no more deductions
• Every household receives a monthly amount, or "prebate"
• "Prebate" is "advance tax payback" for monthly consumption to poverty level
• FairTax ensures poverty protection, being less regressive than income tax
• Increased household income preserves real purchasing power against any higher prices

• Reduction of pre-FairTaxed retail prices (due to reduced costs; increased competition)
• 29.9% mark-up yields 23% FairTax portion of new price tags
• FairTax portion of new prices reveal true cost of gov't to consumers

• FairTax is captured on illicit forms of income, when spent
• Parasitic income tax filing industry eliminated
• No double taxation on goods and services
No more IRS or FILING OF INCOME TAX returns
• Savings is bolstered with reduction of interest rates

• 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)

toothdigger said...

Thanks Ian!