huckabee - | Mike Huckabee wants to abolish the...

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View Full Document Right Arrow Icon To print this page, select "Print" from the File menu of your browser Mike Huckabee wants to abolish the IRS His loopy tax plan would be an economic disaster -- but it's more honest than the schemes being peddled by the establishment Republican candidates. By Brad DeLong Jan. 07, 2008 | For a generation Republicans have won elections by promising to do something new -- and usually strange -- to America's tax system, and by making wild and improbable claims about how great what they propose will turn out to be. This was how Ronald Reagan rode to victory in 1980 with his tax cut plan -- a plan that his own vice president and successor to be, George H.W. Bush, dismissed as "voodoo economics." This was what George W. Bush did back in 2000 when he claimed that faster economic growth would be guaranteed by yet another tax cut for the rich. And this is what Republican presidential front-runner Mike Huckabee is doing today with the "FairTax": a plan to replace the income tax and the Internal Revenue Service with a nationwide federal sales tax. From one perspective, you have to wish Huckabee, and the other FairTax backers in the Republican field, well. All of the GOP's second-tier candidates -- Alan Keyes, Duncan Hunter and Ron Paul -- are FairTax proponents, as was the recently departed Tom Tancredo. The other major Republican candidates, including John McCain and Mitt Romney, are all singing the same old song. They are promising a) income tax cuts and b) expanded government services because c) they are willing to claim that cutting income tax rates will trigger so much extra economic growth that revenues will not suffer but will instead expand. One way or another, all the GOP front-runners except Huckabee are lying. They are either a) lying to their supporters who want tax cuts or b) lying to their supporters who want expanded government or c) lying to everybody, perhaps themselves included. Huckabee, to his credit, doesn't think this is a good game to play. This view, however, leaves Huckabee and company at a disadvantage. They need to distinguish themselves somehow from the establishment candidates with better organizations and more media visibility. But they don't want to find themselves in the future in the place where George H.W. Bush found himself in 1990. Two years after running for president on a promise that he would block any tax increase by telling congressional Democrats, "Read my lips, no new taxes," he was forced to raised taxes. Huckabee et al. need a new game to play.
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This note was uploaded on 04/11/2009 for the course ECON 102 taught by Professor Serra during the Winter '08 term at UCLA.

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huckabee - | Mike Huckabee wants to abolish the...

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