Saturday, December 15, 2007

Should Huckabee Drop "Fair Tax?"

Should Huckabee Drop "Fair Tax?" writes: ::
Personal Asides: Has Huckabee a Glass Jaw?...But All the Same, Mike, Drop that "Fair Tax" or It'll Kill You... The Difficulties Facing the Dems on Economics.

Posted: 13 Dec 2007 06:43 AM CST

One Punch and He's Out?

Has Mike Huckabee... as the immortal Rahm Emanuel was reported to say... a glass jaw: one punch and he's decked? Usually that phrase is given to a neophyte candidate-not one who has been a longtime governor, who has won far more contests than he lost. Who dealt with legislatures and had to run frequently in a state dominated by the Clintons. Odds are it's just Emanuel doing what he and his buddy David Axelrod love to do-mislead the other side.

Nothing wrong with that. I used to do it all the time when I was in the campaign strategy business but it works best when a celebrity candidate looms without political experience. The candidate with the most brittle glass jaw was one the Republicans ran for Congress in suburban Minneapolis with a powerful name-George Mikan who had been a star for the Minneapolis Lakers. Talk about a glass jaw! He was so terrible that in attempting to swing on his opponent he knocked himself out. Probably in the history of the democratic process... going back to ancient Athens and 100 B.C... .there was no worse candidate for office than Mikan.

The So-Called "Fair Tax."

Yet all the same, Mike you the first thing you should do is drop the stupid so-called "Fair Tax" which has been part of your arsenal ever since you decided to run for president-as a counter to the legitimate charges that you raised taxes repeatedly in Arkansas. I know how he got it. He listened to one of those reformers who said that when you run for president you have to have something "positive" to say-so he picked that turkey up. The idea of a "positive" campaign comes from editorial boards who know very little about the process. Nobody got elected president advocating a positive program. They got elected president with their resumes... Eisenhower, Reagan... or their ability to generate fear so as to decimate their opponents.

Strategically, Mike doesn't have to renounce the thing. All he has to do... as soon as he wins the first caucus or primary... is to name a pre-stacked panel of fiscal experts with the order to come back to him after having examined all plans including the "Fair Tax." Then send them home and forget about. In the meantime when asked say you got a panel looking at all the options... including your "Fair Tax"... in depth. Then after you get on the national ticket you do one of two things. If you're the vice presidential nominee you obviously defer to the presidential nominee's program (which if it is Romney as I hope it will be will solve that). Or if you're the presidential nominee-which I don't think Mike will be... allow that the panel hasn't finished it's work and just criticize the current tax code so that when and if you're elected you can dump that "Fair Tax" turkey off a pier.

What's wrong with the "Fair Tax"? While initially it sounds good... doing away with the IRS and applying a single national sales tax-national-on purchases, easing the pain on the less wealthy by providing a monthly rebate... it is a chamber of horrors. Understand that exporters love the idea; it shrinks their tax burden and puts them even with companies form overseas that are prospering doing business with China. But there's a hideous joker in the deck-a joker that will soon have voters laughing all the way to the polls at Mike. F-T supporters talk about a 23% rate, meaning that for every dollar paid, 23 cents is taxed. But it translates into a 30% tax on a 27-cent expenditure and possibilities for black market are unending. Remember the guy in the ghetto who pulls back his coat sleeve to show a long arm on which 15 wristwatches are fastened? He'll soon be on the street selling DVD players without tax. Europe is a continent full of tax dodgers; we would soon be with that slippery process and we'd become a nation of sleaze artists.

Abolishing the IRS? Europe tried to do it but its politicians found a way of adding the income tax on top for a double-tax burden and a curtailment of economic growth. Before there would be no chance of this happening you'd have to have a constitutional amendment pass repealing the income tax's 16th. No more army of IRS auditors to invade your privacy? You'd have to have people ferreting out information to be sure that there's no cheating. So the same IRS people would be put to different jobs. Thirty percent is too high a tax for the average man to pay and a natural for tax evasion.

Difficulties Facing Dems on Economics.

The purpose of any campaign is to stir fear-but problems grow when facts don't justify the scare. Take the latest poll on the economy. For the question "Are income taxes fair?"-a question that might have motivated Mike Huckabee to pick the "Fair Tax" on the supposition that the common prejudice is that income taxes are not perceived as fair... here's the answer given to Gallup last April. Sixty percent feel that income taxes they pay themselves are fair; 37% believe the taxes they pay are unfair. In 1997 the figures were 51% fair and 43% unfair.

Democrats-from Hillary to John Edwards to the vaguely wistful Barack Obama-like to maintain that the burden of tax-paying falls mainly on the middle-class. But that is easily dismissed by statistics. The big portion of federal income tax burden is paid by a small group of very-very wealthy Americans. The wealthiest 1% of the population earn 19% of the income but pay 37% of the income tax. The top 10% pay 68%. The bottom 50%, those below the median income level-earning 13% of the income, pay 3% of the taxes.


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