Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Dick Morris, writing at RealClear Politics, argues that although Huckabee is a strong religious conservative, he is also a fiscal conservative. Too bad this doesn't mean that Huckabee wants the government's hand completely out of your pocket, and too bad his idea of keeping the government theft to a minimum involves ordering people around:
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.So this guy did nothing to eliminate taxation -- or even to reduce the tax burden. In fact, on that score, he looks good only because everyone else is so bad. And to top it all off, he plans to pretend he's saving you money by limiting your freedom. How the hell is that supposed to be "exciting"?
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 Huckabee's strength is not just his orthodoxy on gay marriage, abortion, gun control and the usual litany. It is his opening of the religious right to a host of new issues. He speaks firmly for the right to life, but then notes that our responsibility for children does not end with childbirth. His answer to the rise of medical costs is novel and exciting. "Eighty percent of all medical spending," he says, "is for chronic diseases." So he urges an all-out attack on teen smoking and overeating and a push for exercise not as the policies of a big-government liberal but as the requisites of a fiscal conservative anxious to save tax money. [bold added]
Here's an exciting idea: People don't get medical care if they don't make their own arrangements to pay for it. Not only would that respect my individual rights, it would prevent me from paying taxes to bail out smokers and it would give them incentive to quit, not that the government would any longer make their foolishness my problem any more.
Dick Morris sounds like he is reassuring us about Mike Huckabee when in fact he should be sounding the alarm! Since I therefore doubt he has read "The Decline and Fall of American Conservatism", let me pose the following question: What good does a steady (or even declining) tax rate do me if I lose my freedom? How is it really "my money" if I cannot spend it as I please -- say on a pack of cigarettes?
The various elements of "fiscal conservatism" have all become over time mere bromides in our sloppy political discourse thanks to the fact that so few understand the nature of individual rights, and so fail to see each freedom as part of an indivisible whole. We have seen "privatization" come to mean "fascism", "law and order" come to mean unnecessary restrictions on immigration (motivated largely by non-citizens using social services whose very existence depends on massive government looting), and "libertartian" to mean Big Brother making personal decisions for you).
It is in this same Orwellian sense that Mike Huckabee is a "fiscal conservative": He makes lots of noise about not raising taxes, but he challenges not one single solitary premise of the welfare state. As a result of not challenging the welfare state, he accepts its methods and goals, so long as they don't interfere too much with his ability to purchase votes from suckers by not raising tax rates.
Before you vote for Mike Huckabee, you should first consider becoming my do-boy!
Why not? I'll never raise your taxes!