So Huckabee and Obama have won the primaries and if nothing else this shows that Americans care about what kind of a person you are rather than how much money you can raise, how politically astute you can be or how you can dodge the issues. From the day I was exposed to Huckabee in 2006, listening to him talk about the health challenges in America and what he has personally done to lead, I was impressed.
I found him real, charming, articulate, honest and a do-er. The fact that he is not from New York-California (or as AT&T would call it, New Yorkifornia), makes him more real in some ways with a feel for what life is like for millions of Americans.
I liked him enough to check out his website to see where he stands on issues. That’s where I was a little taken aback. Here are some of his stands:
- Replace all taxes with “FairTax”: The name Fair Tax notwithstanding the proposed tax would essentially be a national sales tax. The unintended (or unseen) consequences of this could include consumers buying more second-hand goods or even conducting transactions in tax without reporting them. A simple taxation system could also mean its simpler to avoid taxation. The incentive to cheat would be much higher given that the proposed fair sales tax would be around 20%+. I am all for reforming the tax code but any time a huge change like this is proposed I am worried about unintended consequences. For example, the rich could spend more of their time and money in foreign countries while earning in the US. Take your (much maligned) hedge fund trader who could do his job in London as well as in New York and compare that to the Wal-Mart clerk. Doesn’t seem fair to me!
- Immigration: He wants to crack down hard on illegal immigrants and employers. Although, I agree that enforcement of laws needs to be strengthened there seems to be very little emphasis on immigration reform. By way of example, he wants to eliminate the visa category for brothers and sisters of citizens – I don’t understand why this is a key issue. After all, does pro-family stop at the border? He does propose to increase the visas for highly skilled and highly educated immigrants – I support this increase but few highly skilled and highly educated immigrants want to live in a country that doesn’t let their spouse, siblings or parents in. Germany tried a restrictive program to attract top talent from countries like India and the program was a failure.
- Marriage and Sanctity of Life: Huckabee wants to define marriage. As a union of man and a woman. I am relieved. I guess this is a huge problem. Why bother with real issues like poverty, climate change or disease when you can define marriage.
There are several issues on which I do agree with Huckabee including his healthcare reforms agenda but I need to see him articulate his positions on immigration and taxation with more nuance and show his understanding of the issues involved for me to be able to trust him.