Who will I support? – part nine

Ben Franklin noted that nothing in life is certain except death and taxes. While you can’t argue with those two truisms, a third corollary one is that Americans feel like they’re being taxed to death. I know I do. And that’s why the subject of taxation is close to the top as far as domestic issues go in this method of choosing the GOP candidate I’ll support. In fact, it’s worth 21 points, as many as the first three issues I dealt with combined.

My view on taxation is that I think the FairTax is likely the best way to go, but it has to be coupled with repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment. At the very least, a candidate I favor would keep the 2001/2003 Bush tax cuts in place.

Not surprisingly, the majority of candidates who address the issue are Republicans, but there’s a surprise or two in the Democrat camp.

Sam Brownback:

I have long championed both lower taxes and reform of the existing tax system, and recently signed the Americans for Tax Reform pledge to oppose all tax increases. Much of our recent economic prosperity is directly attributable to the lower taxes enacted by recent Congresses. I believe America’s tax code is overly complex and burdensome. Americans spend roughly $157 billion each year in tax preparation, to ensure they do not run afoul of the Internal Revenue Service. The system is desperately in need of reform. I support a flat tax concept that simplifies tax preparation, applies a low tax rate to all Americans, and respects the special financial burden carried by American families raising children.

Rudy Giuliani:

Rudy is the real fiscal conservative in the race. He cut taxes 23 times in New York and turned a $2.3 billion budget deficit into a multi-billion dollar surplus, while balancing the city’s budget. Because he turned his conservative principles into action, New York City taxpayers saved more than $9 billion in taxes and enjoyed their lowest tax burden in decades, while the economy grew and city government saw its revenues increase from the lower tax rates. Rudy Giuliani believes in supply-side economics, because he did it and he saw it work.

To watch Rudy’s commitment to cutting taxes and ensuring economic growth, please click here.

Mike Huckabee talks taxes here.

Duncan Hunter has four separate areas on his issue page that explain his tax philosophy at length; more length than I feel is fair to quote. Pay attention to points 16, 17, 18, and 25.

Ron Paul:

Working Americans like lower taxes. So do I. Lower taxes benefit all of us, creating jobs and allowing us to make more decisions for ourselves about our lives.

Whether a tax cut reduces a single mother’s payroll taxes by $40 a month or allows a business owner to save thousands in capital gains taxes and hire more employees, that tax cut is a good thing. Lower taxes allow more spending, saving, and investing which helps the economy — that means all of us.

Real conservatives have always supported low taxes and low spending.

Mitt Romney looks at the subject on his webpage as well.

Tom Tancredo shows his support of the FairTax here, and with this quote:

A growing chorus of economists and experts argue, and I agree, that the current income tax system is complex and unfair and should be replaced by a flat tax or national sales tax. That’s why I co-sponsored the FairTax legislation. Simplifying the process would dramatically reduce the costs of compliance, make American companies more competitive, and put billions back into the economy by encouraging investment.

Tommy Thompson:

Governor Thompson cut taxes by $16.4 billion in Wisconsin and believes President Bush’s tax cuts must be permanent to allow taxpayers to keep more of their hard-earned money and to continue to build the economy. Governor Thompson also vetoed more than 1,900 items in 14 years in office, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars.

As noted, only a handful of Democrats delved into the tax issue, for obvious reasons. But I got some interesting surprises from those who dared enter the realm.

John Edwards wants to simplify the tax process.

A Democrat who supports the FairTax? Mike Gravel does.

And last among the trio of Democrats is Dennis Kucinich.

I can honestly say that we don’t have a Walter Mondale (whose push for higher taxes during the 1984 campaign led to a 49-state slaughter by Ronald Reagan) among the group; however, I did see a few possible George H.W. Bush “read my lips”-type statements. But who did the best?

Sam Brownback supports a flat tax concept, which is something I also favored when Steve Forbes ran for President in 1996 and 2000. While I’ve progressed beyond that because it maintains the tax on income rather than consumption, it still beats the progressive tax we have now. Sam will pick up 7 points.

Rudy Giuliani likes lower tax rates, and that’s good (not to mention correct as far as increasing revenue is concerned.) But he doesn’t tinker with the system as much as I’d like. However, he also gets credit for wanting to “give the death penalty to the death tax”, so I’ll give him 6 points.

I’m very confused by Mike Huckabee. On his website, he advocates the FairTax. But on the attached video, he also supports making the 2001/03 Bush tax cuts permanent and then sort of contradicts himself at the very end by talking about a flat tax. So which is it? If he had just stuck to the FairTax, he’d have scored higher than the 10 points I’ll give him.

Duncan Hunter sort of tweaks around the edges of what we have, stressing reforms to the “marriage penalty” and AMT along with some other simplification and reform. But there’s no radical change like what’s necessary. I’ll give him 4 points.

Well, Ron Paul, I like lower taxes too. So do almost all Americans. But how are we going to get to those lower taxes – rate reductions or a changing of the system? Inquiring minds want to know, and this one can only give you 2 points because of the lack of specifics.

In the words of Tom Tancredo, “I would support either of these long overdue tax reforms (flat tax or national sales tax) to our nightmarish tax code.” It’s a bit wishy-washy in that regard, but Tancredo also wants to scrap the tax code and start over regardless – an important first step. I think he deserves 14 points.

Mitt Romney is relatively moderate when it comes to taxation, mostly advocating lower rates. He also has an idea about cutting the capital gains tax to zero for people of lower incomes – why not everyone? And yes, he’d make the Bush tax cuts permanent. Good steps, but not terribly exciting so he gets only 4 points.

Tommy Thompson just speaks to making the Bush tax cuts permanent. That’s not enough, particularly in comparison to other candidates. Among responders only Ron Paul is less specific and for that Tommy just gets 3 points.

John Edwards doesn’t mess with tax rates, just so-called “simplification”. His “Form 1” would allow the fox to guard the henhouse – because the IRS already has all of your information, they figure your taxes and you simply sign the form stating you agree with their calculations (never mind that, as far as tax advice goes, the IRS is wrong as often as not.) This is almost as diabolical as backup withholding. While I will grant Edwards credit for not specifically asking for a tax increase and for out-of-the-box thinking, it’s still a bad idea and he’s docked one point.

As I noted earlier, Mike Gravel supports the FairTax. However, he does not mention the repeal of the Sixteenth Amendment and talks about it as a “progressive” tax by adjusting the “prebate” portion as he feels is fair. So there are a couple flies in the ointment. But he deserves as much credit as I gave Tom Tancredo for his stance, which would be 14 points.

Dennis Kucinich wants no part of a death tax repeal and wants to raise taxes by going back to the Clinton tax rates on “the wealthy.” Wrong direction there, Dennis, and he practically secures the “biggest threat to the republic” crown by plummeting another 21 points.

Hitting the third turn now in this horse race of sorts, and it’s starting to look like a two-man race on the GOP side:

  1. Mike Huckabee, 42 points
  2. Tom Tancredo, 40.5 points
  3. Rudy Giuliani, 28 points
  4. Duncan Hunter, 21 points
  5. Sam Brownback, 18.5 points
  6. Ron Paul, 15.5 points
  7. Mitt Romney, 8 points
  8. John McCain, 3 points
  9. Fred Thompson, 2 points
  10. Tommy Thompson, -2.5 points

Wow, Mike Gravel actually ranks ahead of a Republican by 1/2 point. It won’t last. The top and bottom of the Democrat field are pulling away in different directions.

  1. Mike Gravel, -2 points
  2. Joe Biden, -35.5 points
  3. Bill Richardson, -41.5 points
  4. John Edwards, -49.5 points
  5. Barack Obama, -54.5 points
  6. Hillary Clinton, -55.5 points
  7. Chris Dodd, -57.5 points
  8. Dennis Kucinich, -97.5 points

Next time around (tomorrow), we look at an issue I call “role of government.”

Author: Michael

It's me from my laptop computer.