Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“The most difficult subjects can be explained to the most slow-witted man if he has not formed any idea of them already; but the simplest thing cannot be made clear to the most intelligent man if he is firmly persuaded that he knows already, without a shadow of doubt, what is laid before him.”     Leo Tolstoy

August 24, 2007

It’s Time To Write Off Mike Huckabee

by Doug Mataconis

His apparent support for the FairTax notwithstanding, I’ve pretty much decided that Mike Huckabee isn’t worthy of my support.

The reason ?

The fact that one of his biggest supporters is champion of the Bridge to Nowhere, and worthy of the title King of Pork:

Little Rock, AR – Former Governor Mike Huckabee announced Friday that U.S. Representative Don Young (R-AK) will serve as congressional chairman of his presidential exploratory committee and U.S. Representative John Boozman (R-AR) will serve as co-chairman.

“It’s an honor to have the strong support of such dedicated and well respected members of the U.S. Congress,” said Huckabee.

“As Governor of Arkansas and NGA Chairman, I worked closely with Don on a range of critical issues, including transportation – which is a passion we both share.  I’ve seen him in action and respect his commitment – not only to the people of Alaska, but to our country.  I have deep respect for the job he has done in Congress, and I know he’ll do a great job as chairman of my congressional team.”

I’ve written before about Congressman Young, here and here. He’s skilled at getting as much of your/my money for his constituents as possible, even if if means investing in a complete boondoggle of a transportation project, or asserting that cutting back on pork barrel spending is taking away “his money.”

I’ll give this much credit to Congressman Young. He’s a guy who knows how the system works. But, given the fact that the system itself is inherently corrupt, that can only lead to the conclusion that he’s dedicated to the idea of grabbing as much taxpayer money for his constituents as he can, regardless of whether its Constitutional, or even moral.

The fact that Huckabee would take this guy on as a supporter.

Well, you can draw your own conclusions.

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32 Comments

  1. As a resident of the state of Arkansas I could have told you from the get go, Doug, to stay far, far away from supporting Mike “Governor Busybody” Huckabee for president.

    Comment by Ken H — August 24, 2007 @ 10:08 pm
  2. So let me get this straight, you are giving up on Mike Huckabee because Congressman Young is helping out with the campaign? So if you were running a Presidential campaign, you would turn away people who want to support you?? You are really giving up on a good man. Sad that you would jump ship just because you dont care for the politics of one of his supporters. Young isnt running for President…

    come on now buck up and rejoin the Huck!!

    Ken H~ I am willing to bet my farm that you are not from Arkansas, bet you are a Paul supporter..

    Comment by Trisha Owen — August 24, 2007 @ 10:22 pm
  3. Isn’t there a saying about you can learn from someone by looking at their friends? I have to agree with Doug on this one. I don’t care how great Huckabee may actually be in office, the fact that he didn’t immediately distance himself from Young means that Huckabee implicitly agrees with pork-barrel spending. That isn’t the type I would want in the White House.

    I look at it this way using one of my slightly out there analogies. This is like the guy charged with grand larceny hiring a lawyer who was busted for embezzlement. The guy may be innocent, but he sure didn’t help his case with his lawyer selection.

    Comment by trumpetbob15 — August 24, 2007 @ 10:39 pm
  4. Doug,
    Mr. Huckabee is far from being a spender. He has used every cent given to him by his supporters in a unheard of frugal way.

    I would be more concerned with Romney and the other top tiers who are spending their supporters money like water.Watching how a candidate runs their campaign is a good indicator of how they will spend money in office.

    If you throughly research Mr. Huckabee you will see that his fiscal record as Governor of Arkansas is impeccable.

    As a blog master you do have the opportunity to talk to the Governor yourself. He does weekly conference call with any bloggers who want to participate. You can ask any question you want.
    contact Vince at Vincent.Harris@explorehuckabee.com to find out when the next conference call is.

    Not to many candidates set aside time each week to talk to bloggers. I think it is unheard of.

    Comment by patriot1274 — August 24, 2007 @ 11:00 pm
  5. Could have told you that at the beginning. When I heard Fair Tax bought 1,000 ballots to use for Huckabee, it made the straw poll 2nd place finish meaningless. But then most straw polls are meaningless. Anyone supporting Fair Tax wants to tax the Upper Middle Class.

    Some people continue to spin on Huckabee not being a taxer or big spender but that’s not what the record says. After destroying the hard drives from when he was Governor even if it was ruled OK by the AG, it smacks of the other person from Hope.

    No thank you!

    Comment by Samantha — August 24, 2007 @ 11:22 pm
  6. Patriot,

    With friends like Don Young, it’s easy to see where Huckabee’s true feelings lie.

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 25, 2007 @ 6:24 am
  7. Anyone supporting Fair Tax wants to tax the Upper Middle Class.

    Evidence, Samantha.

    Where’s your evidence ?

    Comment by Doug Mataconis — August 25, 2007 @ 6:25 am
  8. Anyone supporting Fair Tax wants to tax the Upper Middle Class.

    Samantha,
    This is incorrect. I am in the upper middle class and will have about $1200 more per month in my pocket under the fairtax than I have now under the income tax system. So, I am going to be much better off.

    Comment by Blake Gunnels — August 25, 2007 @ 7:15 am
  9. Huckabee is not a fiscal conservative. The Club for Growth has done some brilliant research on his record.

    Huckabee is simply pandering to a movement and pulling wool over their eyes.

    Comment by Jason Pye — August 25, 2007 @ 10:45 am
  10. Trisha,

    You have lost your farm, but I will allow you to keep it. 8-) I have lived in Arkansas since June 1978 and earned my bachelor’s degree at Harding University in Searcy from August 1974 through May 1978. I am a native born Texan but grew up being a Razorbacks fan(I was reading Texas Football magazine about the Soutwest Conference when I was seven years old and took a shine to the Hogs). All of my favorite pro teams – Cowboys, Astros, Rangers, Spurs, Stars – are in Texas.

    Yes, I am a libertarian so, yes, I am a supporter of Congressman Ron Paul.

    Comment by Ken H — August 25, 2007 @ 11:43 am
  11. Samantha: “Anyone supporting Fair Tax wants to tax the Upper Middle Class.”

    Who do you think pays the taxes now? Most of the rich are able (using S corporations, their businesses, etc) to structure their income to avoid high taxes. Most of the poor and lower-middle class don’t pay many taxes, expecially if they have kids.

    The upper-middle class are rich enough that the tax breaks of having kids/etc don’t make a big dent in their tax bill, but not rich enough to restructure their income in order to avoid taxes.

    They’re getting shafted now, so I don’t quite understand your statement.

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — August 25, 2007 @ 12:07 pm
  12. “apparent support of the FairTax”?

    Huckabee happens to be its most outstanding proponent. And, that’s enough said for me.

    Jeez, man, looks like you need to read about the FairTax. Huckabee in 2008.

    Comment by Ian — August 25, 2007 @ 12:09 pm
  13. This smells of guilt by association. I like Ron Paul better than Huckabee but I wouldn’t write Huckabee off because he’s supported by Rep. Young anymore than I’d write Rep. Paul off because he’s supported by strippers and 9/11 truthers. We should all judge the candidates by their record and their stands on the issues, not by who supports them.

    Comment by Bob — August 25, 2007 @ 12:12 pm
  14. Doug, who said Huckabee and Young were friends??

    Comment by patriot1274 — August 25, 2007 @ 1:09 pm
  15. oh by the way, for all you fairtax naysayers visit fairtax.org and learn about it, it can change America for the better!

    Comment by patriot1274 — August 25, 2007 @ 1:10 pm
  16. Personally, I like the idea of the Fair Tax but I don’t see the American people ever going along with such a radical change in our tax structure.

    Also, the idea of a “prebate” sounds way too much like a gimmick.

    Comment by Ken H — August 25, 2007 @ 1:14 pm
  17. Doesn’t Huckabee also wanna control what people eat?

    Comment by Nick M — August 25, 2007 @ 1:34 pm
  18. I would be more concerned if Huckabee were supporting Young. The fact that Young is supporting Huckabee shows that whatever your disagreement with Young might be, at least he has good taste in Presidential candidates.

    Comment by Mike Daley — August 25, 2007 @ 4:20 pm
  19. Mike “Governor Busybody” was simply another Big Government “conservative” during his tenure as the governor of Arkansas. He would be no better than George W. Bush in that regard.

    Comment by Ken H — August 25, 2007 @ 6:42 pm
  20. I like Mr. Huckabee a person but he has not studied the FairTax. This is what we lose under the FairTax:

    1. The Home Mortgage tax deduction – no more deduction your mortgage interest – no incentive to buy a house.
    2. The Per-Child tax deduction for dependants – no more help for large families.
    3. The deduction for State and Local taxes – tack on the taxes.
    4. The College Tuition tax deduction – sorry kids.
    5. Roth IRA – will be taxed twice because your money is taxed again when you spend it.
    6. Charitable Contributions deductions – no help for the faithful.
    7. Child Care Credits – no more help for single moms and poor families with kids.
    8. Refinancing Points deduction – no more incentive to refinance.
    9. Health Insurance Premiums deduction – no more help for the sick.

    This is what we gain under the FairTax:
    1. New 30 percent tax on every New House or property you buy.
    2. New 30 percent tax on Cars, Boats, Campers, Home Appliances, TV’s
    3. New 30 percent tax on Food, Clothing, Shelter, Rent, Electricity, Gas, Phone Service
    4. New 30 percent tax on Medicine, Surgical procedures, Hospital stays, Dental Services
    5. New 30 percent tax on Legal Services, Trial Services, Legal Advice, Legal Winnings and losses.
    6. Double Taxation on Roth IRA’s or retirement money you took as a lump sum.
    7. Your consumption is now directly linked to inflation – prices go up – your taxes go up.

    See fairtaxfraud.com for the truth about this horrible bill.

    Comment by John Blixx — August 25, 2007 @ 7:12 pm
  21. John Blixx

    I can’t believe how blind some people can be. So what if you loose all the deductions and credits you refer to. You will receive 100% of your pay check so why would you need them? And here goes the old 30% argument again. It’s simple, when you buy something 23% of the purchase price goes to the government not 30%. If you pay $100 for an item, the government will receive $23.00 not $30.00.

    Comment by Steve K — August 25, 2007 @ 9:11 pm
  22. John Blixx,

    I am not totally sold on the FairTax from an implementation perspective, but you are grossly distorting the tax rate. The FairTax is 23% meaning if something cost $100, the tax is $23. (23 divided by 100 is 23%.) However, your 30% number comes from the wrong formula. To get 30%, it would be to take the $100 purchase, subtract the $23 in tax (giving $77) and then take $23 divided by $77.

    This wouldn’t be a problem, but our current system isn’t set up that way. To try and make it less complicated, assume that there are no graduated steps i.e. if you make $100,000 it is all taxed at 35% rather than part taxed at one percentage and another part taxed at a higher percentage. Given that assumption, if someone makes $100,000 then they pay $35,000 in taxes, or 35% of their income ($35,000 divided by $100,000). This method is consistent with the FairTax being 23%. In order to get the current system to mimic your claim of the the FairTax being 30%, then we would take that $100,000 in income, subtract $35,000 (leaving $65,000) and then take $35,000 divided by $65,000 (giving 54%). So really, in order to claim the FairTax is 30%, you would also have to argue that our current system is closer to taxing rich people at 54% (less some for deductions and the other unnecessary complications of our convoluted tax code), something most FairTax critics don’t want to admit.

    Hopefully I have made my math simple enough to understand. Because I have an accounting degree, I tend to overcomplicate things. True consistency is a must for rational debate. If you don’t like the FairTax, at least compare apples to apples when you make your case.

    Comment by trumpetbob15 — August 25, 2007 @ 9:17 pm
  23. Samantha: “When I heard Fair Tax bought 1,000 ballots to use for Huckabee, it made the straw poll 2nd place finish meaningless.”

    So Samantha, I’m assuming you can prove that they bought them FOR Huckabee in violation of their tax status and not just FairTax supporters to vote as they chose? After all, the majority of the candidates were “Yes” on the FairTax scorecard.

    I’m assuming you’re discounting other campaigns because they bought tickets for ALL their supporters and bussed them in? Huckabee did neither.

    Please confirm accusations before you say a leading national tax reform non profit violated FEC laws. I was in the FairTax straw pol tent and can tell you they didn’t even ask if you supported the FairTax, non the less who you were going to vote for.

    Comment by Aaron — August 25, 2007 @ 11:57 pm
  24. Trumpetbob,

    Any FairTaxer, when pressed, will tell you that the 23% tax rate is defined as a tax-inclusive rate. The rate is calcuated as R=Tax/(Tax+Price). The 29.87% rate (approx. 30%) is what is called the tax-exclusive rate, calcuated by R=Tax/Price. The confusion lies in the fact that these two rates are thrown around without being defined as inclusive/exclusive and each side refuses to compare properly.

    The main point of confusion lies at what kind of tax we compare the Fairtax to. The 23% rate is used to compare the Fairtax to a flat income tax of the same rate. But the 30% rate is used to compare the Fairtax to the typical state sales tax, which is figured on a tax-exclusive basis. If you buy $100 of groceries with a 5% sales tax, you will pay $105. Under the Fairtax, that $100 purchase will rise to $129.87. So, the Fairtax is a 30% sales tax as we currently compute sales taxes.

    But a 30% sales tax figures likes a 23% income tax. For example, let’s say that you made $10,000 and spent it all (we’ll forget the prebate for now, for simplicity). That 10,000 consumption includes both the price of the products and the tax you had to pay. Since the FairTax is equal to a 23% income tax, the amount of tax paid is 2300. And 2300/7700 is 30%.

    I think that the FairTaxers are disingenuous when they use the 23% rate for their propaganda. Since we all think of sales taxes in a tax-exclusive way, they should state the 30% tax-exclusive rate. When critics call their bluff, they try to say that the critics are comparing apples and oranges by not stating the rate that the Fairtax would be if it were an income tax, like our current system. But the Fairtax is a sales tax and should be quoted using the appropriate rate. No one would would ever think of their 5% sales tax rate as like a 4.76% income tax; likewise, we should think of the Fairtax as a 30% rate, not a 23% rate.

    Comment by Logan — August 26, 2007 @ 4:47 am
  25. I think it be better to follow Ron Paul’s suggestion: get rid of all the unconstitional spending then we could eliminate the income tax and replace it with nothing!

    Comment by Bob — August 26, 2007 @ 7:19 am
  26. Anyone who comments on the Fairtax should read the book or legislation first since those of us who have can spot your ignorance, deception, or faulty thinking instantly. We will have the Fairtax because we are the people. We know this movement is growing and will continue to grow. Thanks

    Comment by Darrell Sikes — August 26, 2007 @ 8:03 am
  27. Wow Darrel,

    So I should shell out money for your group’s book or STFU about the wisdom of your ideas? How many pro-income tax books did you read before calling for its abolition?

    Here’s an idea, instead of insulting those you wish to convert to your view, how about talking to them in a rational, calm manner?

    I’ve had several debates (here and here) with FairTax supporters, and so far I’ve been underwhelmed. With a few notable exceptions, its defenders have tended to slide into hysterical ad-hominems the moment their assumptions are questioned.

    In my experience this is a sign of weak theory.

    Comment by tarran — August 26, 2007 @ 9:29 am
  28. Darrell,
    Thanks for infroming me that the “We will have the Fairtax because we are the people.” I don’t remember giving up my right to vote nor do I remember voting on it but if Fuhrer Huckabee and the rest of “the people” have decided then who am I to object? :-)

    Comment by Bob — August 26, 2007 @ 10:18 am
  29. The 23% verses 30% argument is ridiculous. If your income was $100,000 and your income tax was $23,000 you would consider your tax rate to be 23%. Under the FairTax if your income was $100,000 and you spent it all, on new goods and services, your taxes would be the same, $23,000 or 23% of your income. Here are the real reasons we need the FairTax (1) Under our income tax system, your savings is with after tax dollars. The only way you can defer taxes on your savings is with a qualified retirement fund such as an IRA . Under the FairTax, you only pay tax on what you spend and you don’t pay until you spend it. There is no need for an IRA because all types of savings are exempt from taxes. (2) The FairTax eliminates double taxation by not taxing used items. Under our current system, not only are we paying taxes on our income but we are indirectly paying the taxes for all the companies involved in the manufacture of everything we purchase. (3) No more tax returns. (4) The FairTax eliminates corporate taxes; by doing so, domestic good will become more competitive with foreign imports, thus creating economic growth, thus creating more jobs. (5) The number of taxpayers will increase thus reducing the burden on the ones currently carrying the load. Illegal aliens, foreign visitors, illegal businesses that do not currently pay income taxes, and all those who cheat on their income tax returns will begin to share this load. (6) The FairTax reduces compliance costs (7) It takes away more power from the government. (8) It eliminates tax lobbyists. (9) It reduces the size of the IRS. When you really understand all the advantages, it becomes very difficult to understand why anyone can be against the FairTax.

    Comment by Steve K — August 26, 2007 @ 10:24 pm
  30. It’s hard to debate a straw-man argument, you simply have to point it out. But then we depend on the audience to know what a straw-man actually is. The critics of the FairTax _love_ their straw-men. They also love to criticize a book they’ve never even bothered to read. Those that have claimed to read it and make such preposterous arguments must have some serious preconceived notions. How else could someone say “I’ve made up my mind. I won’t be swayed by the facts!”

    Sometimes it’s just best to concede the math issue for the ignorant; we can only hope they know how to think.

    OK so the FairTax is a 30% sales tax, BUT, it’s applied to goods & services after a 23% across the board discount!!! Huh, get it? How about them apples???

    Let’s see $100 jacket… less 23% embedded income tax costs = $77 real cost of garment.

    So $77 garment and 30% sales tax (or $23) = $100 sale price. Get it???

    ———

    Each year we spend hours of time getting ready for April 15, and hundreds of $$$ for accountants, or tax software… and for what? They produce nothing of value. The work product is overhead.

    The FairTax can be collected with a few lines of code in the cash register. Simple, you see it immediately, you can alter your behavior to suit your situation. Tax planning becomes a thing of the past; financial planning can be done to suit you and your family, not the gummint…

    Comment by ctyankee — August 27, 2007 @ 8:23 am
  31. Ahh yes,

    The Fair Tax in its current form and the subsequent abolition of the IRS is revenue neutral with the benefit of discouraging all types of consumption. In its current form, there is no social engineering, no discrimination between different type of spending. In its current form, there is a negative tax for all tax units. This will be the EITC in a better form. There is no longer discouragement for increasing income by working more. There is only discouragement for increased spending. And in the abolition of the IRS, we rid ourselves of the tremendously harmful payroll taxes, SS and Medicare, that harms American workers, and we rid ourselves of the piles and piles of paper work on tax day. Excellent, excellent proposal from the perspective of left-leaning libertarians.

    The Fair Tax is certainly better than the IRS. If it remains in its current form, it’s not a small improvement.

    However, the federal government does not have a balance budget at the moment. The federal government is still too big even if it were to balance its budget.

    Comment by TanGeng — August 27, 2007 @ 9:03 am
  32. I actually support the Alaska bridges to nowhere. If you look at all the money wasted on other earmark projects, this is not only affordable, but reasonable considering the in inconvenientcies for the Americans living in these towns labeled as “Nowhere.”

    The fact that he knows how to get things done in a corrupt system makes him a good politician. I’m glad we have someone like him fighting for Huckabee in the House. Just because he plays a corrupt game doesn’t mean anything he did was illegal (which would be wrong). All politicians are corrupt, but you’ll be hard pressed to find one as uninfluenced by corruption as Mike Huckabee.

    Comment by Kevin Tracy — September 5, 2007 @ 12:04 pm

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