Saturday, December 1, 2007

Star Parker: The unfair rap against Mike Huckabee(2) and More On A Smoking Ban With Jonah Goldberg

I have corrected the Star Parker commentary. I posted it, last night. But, after I had left the editor, I saw that I must have accidentally clipped a bit and that I did not present the true statements and sentiments about Huckabee that have been misconstrued or distorted.

AND, I saw a C-SPAN video of Jonah Goldberg discussing his discomfort with Mike Huckabee, whom he said seems to think that anything he thinks is a good thing to do, he should use government to do it. He calls this a progressive and liberal disposition, and says two important things:

1) He prefaces this assertion with “as far as I can see”: Huckabee “sees no first principle dogmatic reason why government should not do good when it can, where it can at the national level.” The prefacing clause was the important part of that statement because the fact is that he can’t see and the statement is false and, I’m sorry, poorly informed. Huckabee is quite aware of both the general limitations of what government can do and, of the specific constitutional distinction of federal and local powers in The 10th Amendment. Though I have not followed the other campaigns as closely (other constitutional problems preclude others from deeper scrutiny), I would guess that Huckabee respects and cites the 10th Amendment more than any of today’s candidates.

2) Goldberg immediately follows his misstatement about Huckabee and appropriate government power with “…so, he wants a national ban on smoking which…a constitutionalist would burst into flames before proposing something like that…” I returned again to the smoking ban matter in the discussion of Star Parker’s article, linked below. In a courtroom, they would simply call this “he wants a national ban on smoking” hysteria, hearsay. As I say below, there’s something of a misunderstanding and an impetuous reaction.

But hey, I consider myself something of a constitutionalist. And Goldberg is right: a constitutionalist would reject or contest something like that. I would. But, there’s a very important difference between myself and Goldberg and the other anxious complaining constitutionalists: I actually SAW the context from which Huckabee’s statement has been simplistically misconstrued! There are video links to this Goldberg interview and Chris Mattews’ provocation of the smoking ban hubbub, at bottom.

This is just one more example of what will be a soon or next post: The Old Political Dogs Are Behind on the New Tricks. We don’t need to rely on hearsay. We can usually find the details and fairly quickly. In fact, in getting the two videos below, I also looked up a report of the legislation passed in Arkansas while Huckabee was governor. I watch the Internet closely and even I learned something. In fact, the workplace ban enacted in Arkansas does affect all workplaces with more than three employees.

But, if Huckabee endorsed a government sanction of any place where adults could not congregate to do as they please, that would have been a disappointment and a surprise, as I would disagree with that profoundly. And after watching Huckabee for a long time, I have disagreed with a few approaches (I usually say that that’s why he is electable and I would not be), but never in a way that I would describe as profoundly. And how could such a ban pass in Arkansas anyway, which mostly harbors a slightly different brand of Democrat than California, for example.

But, looking through the report from The Arkansas News Bureau , I found this segment and added the emphasis:

The bill as amended directly affects Rep. Phillip Jackson, R-Berryville, who owns a 15-room lodge in Berryville. Jackson said the amendment was not an effort to crush the bill, though he was one of 32 House members to vote against the amended version.

"I had fundamental problems with the bill," he said. "I didn't have a problem with restaurants, particularly, because that is a place where the public is going to be allowed, but I thought it overstepped."

The act prohibits smoking in most public places, including all workplaces with three or more employees.
Establishments open only to people 21 and over are exempt.

So, the only restriction on an establishment that wants to indulge smoking is that it be closed to people under 21. I can live with that. We already have such restrictions on tobacco purchasing and on drinking alcoholic beverages. I’ve never been a habitual smoker and it wouldn’t affect me. But in principle, I should be able to associate with who I want. It’s exactly the distinction that Goldberg supposes to make between Huckabee and more libertarian conservatives. It’s not about me: it’s about principle and appropriate liberty.

Goldberg is not stupid. He just isn’t fully informed. Skip the hearsay. Here’s Goldberg’s ill-informed C-SPAN interview and Huckabee’s response to Chris Matthews question at the Lance Armstrong cancer forum. In the future, we should do our much easier homework before we go off preaching, half-cocked:

Here is Jonah Goldberg on C-SPAN, discussing Ron Paul and Mike Huckabee.

And, here are Matthews and Huckabee and the smoking ban question.


Star Parker: The unfair rap against Mike Huckabee

Star Parker explains how the attacks against Huckabee are inaccurate and unfair. As she did in her original announcement of support for Huckabee, Parker concedes that there is some legitimacy to the complaints, before saying much of it is illegitimate. I’ve always loved Star Parker and have been to a few pro-life banquets where she spoke. Her article has the signal qualification of being sincere. However, her concessions still bear the great liability of being inaccurate. I will excerpt the paragraph in which she allows these, concessions, insert corrections, and then discuss what Huckabee is guilty of, if you still want to call it guilt. I don’t, incidentally.

“There's some justification, of course, to these labels. Huckabee invites them when he expresses reservations about free trade, which he does,

Mike Huckabee is for free trade that’ fair trade. That is, imported goods should be subject to the same safety standards as the American products they will compete with. And by the way, if a Fair Tax were implemented, the tax/subsidy inequity would be eliminated: imbedded taxes would be eliminated from American products, and the sales tax would apply equally>

…when he talks about energy independence, which he does,

It’s more than unclear how talking about energy independence translates to big-government, unless you reflexively translate to government regulation of private interests, which liberals almost always do and many conservatives appear to reflexively fear. But, Huckabee has proposed no such thing. From what he has said, I would speculate that the extent of government involvement that Huckabee would offer would be tax incentives for the achievement of energy alternatives in which private industry might invest. The development of alternative energy technologies not only seeks cleaner energy production but enhanced national security. As Huckabee says, we could tell Middle Eastern oil producers that their oil is no more important to us than their sand. Incidentally, Huckabee supports expanded domestic oil exploration in the interim.

…and when he endorses ideas such as a nationally mandated ban on smoking in public places.”

I’ve been over this: Huckabee never introduced such an idea. At Lance Armstrong’s cancer forum, while discussing the law passed in Arkansas, Chris Matthews asked Huckabee if he would sign a smoking ban as president, if Congress put one on his desk. Huckabee said he would, but NOT as an intervention in places like bars and restaurants (he later explained that that would (implied improperly) impose on the public. But, rather he would endorse it as an OSHA sort of workplace safety regulation. As I have now noted above, the Arkansas workplace ban exempted public places not open to people under 21, or with three or fewer employees.

In a world where the federal government has (unconstitutionally, but nevertheless) assumed a liability for an enormous bill for health care services. To discourage poor diet, inactivity, and smoking is just bare economic prudence, beyond the potential life benefits.

But read Star Parker’s article. She’s a good lady. Star Parker: The unfair rap against Mike Huckabee

I want to write something about how a conventional approach to information is leaving ole political hands behind the ordinary person who can and will scour the Internet.


Vote For Hillary Online said...

If the list of candidates to choose from was a line of port-o-potties outside a concert, Huckabee would be the one overflowing with diarrhea.
If you want a real candidate with real values, then you want Hillary Clinton. Just trust me.

Vote For Hillary Online

Larry Perrault said...


Ian said...

I like Mike cuz Mike likes FairTax.

Anonymous said...

No matter how we dress it, endorsing a national ban on smoking is still the nanny state interfering with [some] business' ability to operate.

For non-smokers, a smoking ban may seem like a reasonable restriction on liberty. However, others also think Christmas traditions shold be banned... and smoking bans in private homes (maybe eventually christmas celebrations too?) aren't far behind.

I am a non-smoker who supports Huckabee, but I think it's foolish for us to try to disguise his bigger government leanings as "having the government do good". The soul of conservatism is the recognition that while the government can do good, it rarely does so better than the free market and liberty for people of conscience.

Larry Perrault said...


I began composing a response, but as it expanded, I transferred it to a better editor and will l make it my next blog post.


Larry Perrault said...

Oh anonymous:

Incidentally, I was in the Detroit area from before age 12 to around 20, and despite it being another university liberal plantation, I LOVED going to Ann Arbor! :-)

Larry Perrault said...


I began composing a response, but as it expanded, I transferred it to a better editor and will l make it my next blog post.


asutcu1 said...

Great site and post Larry - Huckabee is a great candidate. I am putting together get all Huckabee supporters together online and have created the Mike Huckabee Social Community at - come join and create your profile - upload your favorite Huckabee videos and photos and like your RSS feed!!!

Larry Perrault said...


I'll get over there after I get a few things out of the way. Have you met the other Huckabee supporter in New York City? :-)

That's a joke, of course. I'm sure there may be dozens of them. :-)

Ian said...

I'll join! Why do I like the FairTax, you ask? (Or, phrased another way: What have I learned that critical "Republican Club" crowd doesn't get?)

Prices after FairTax would look similar to prices before FairTax - not 30% higher. This is because FairTax removes the cost of business income and payroll taxes currently embedded in prices. Economist Dale Jorgensen, Harvard University, was commissioned to find out what portion of prices were represented by costs for complying with the federal tax code. The figure he came up with, on average, was 22% at the retail level - essentially, a hidden consumption tax," on top of income tax and FICA.

The FairTax rate on new items would be 29.9% on prices - declining 20% to 30% - or 23% of the tax-inclusive price tag (comparable to how income tax is figured, i.e., parts of a total dollar earned). Eliminating income and payroll taxes on business, as FairTax does, reduces the cost of doing business and attracts competition to the market space - driving out excess profit.

In order to make FairTax a progressive consumption tax (such as that called for, recently, by Warren Buffett), a citizen family is simply sent a monthly consumption [tax] allowance, called a "prebate." This prebate is intended to reimburse taxes on necessities without need for record-keeping or reporting. Moreover, the direct payment bypasses the creation of a tax code specifying exempted products and services around which a lobbyist industry could grow. The amount is variable, based on family size, and is equal to the FairTax rate on poverty-level spending, as defined by the Dept. of Commerce. At present, a family of one would receive ~$200/month, a family of four, ~$500/month. Thus, the effective FairTax rate, paid by citizens, will never equal the full 23%. Of course, U.S. visitors (legal, and illegal) will pay the full FairTax when they purchase anything new, at retail (used goods do not carry the tax). Under FairTax, working families will have their whole paychecks (minus any state or local income tax withholding) plus their monthly family prebate.

Additionally, citizens will no longer have to spend the average 50 hours per year preparing their federal tax returns. They will tend to use credit less, and they'll save more. Saving more will make it easier to purchase a home, at a lower interest rate and monthly payment. (Thus, mortgage deductions will no longer be applicable, because income will no longer be the basis for taxation.)

But is the FairTax fairer? To provide substantive answers, Prof.'s Kotlikoff and Rapson (10/06) have concluded,

"...the FairTax imposes much lower average taxes on working-age households than does the current system. The FairTax broadens the tax base from what is now primarily a system of labor income taxation to a system that taxes, albeit indirectly, both labor income and existing wealth. By including existing wealth in the effective tax base, much of which is owned by rich and middle-class elderly households, the FairTax is able to tax labor income at a lower effective rate and, thereby, lower the average lifetime tax rates facing working-age Americans.

"Consider, as an example, a single household age 30 earning $50,000. The household’s average tax rate under the current system is 21.1 percent. It’s 13.5 percent under the FairTax. Since the FairTax would preserve the purchasing power of Social Security benefits and also provide a tax rebate, older low-income workers who will live primarily or exclusively on Social Security would be better off. As an example, the average remaining lifetime tax rate for an age 60 married couple with $20,000 of earnings falls from its current value of 7.2 percent to -11.0 percent under the FairTax. As another example, compare the current 24.0 percent remaining lifetime average tax rate of a married age 45 couple with $100,000 in earnings to the 14.7 percent rate that arises under the FairTax."

Further, per Jokischa and Kotlikoff (circa 2006? ),

"...once one moves to generations postdating the baby boomers there are positive welfare gains for all income groups in each cohort. Under a 23 percent FairTax policy, the poorest members of the generation born in 1990 enjoy a 13.5 percent welfare gain. Their middle-class and rich contemporaries experience 5 and 2 percent welfare gains, respectively. The welfare gains are largest for future generations. Take the cohort born in 2030. The poorest members of this cohort enjoy a huge 26 percent improvement in their well-being. For middle class members of this birth group, there's a 12 percent welfare gain. And for the richest members of the group, the gain is 5 percent."

The current income-based tax system is also more expensive to run, because of the manner in which the tax code is gamed by politicians and lobbyists. Politicians realize great power, and attract constituencies for support, by granting tax favors (i.e., credits, deductions, exemptions) through lobbyists. Fully, fifty-three percent (that's 53%!) of Washington lobbyists are there because of the tax code! The tax code is continually changing, making it more complex and more difficult to understand. And, the salaries and costs of tax lawyers and lobbyists end up in the prices of the products and services we buy. Additionally, the time and money required to keep records, file returns, report for audits, retain accounting and legal help, pay IRS penalties and interest, is time and money lost for other productive, or recreational, activities. Depriving us of the use of withheld wages increases our expenses through zero-interest withholding, inflation, return preparation time, and interest paid on credit cards and loans that would not have been necessary without withholding. Summed up, the cost of tax compliance, nationally, has been estimated to range anywhere from $265 billion to twice that amount, depending on the extent to which tax-avoidance consultation is sought and utilized. These expenses constitute a substantial hidden tax which is incomprehensible to the average working American. And the FairTax gets rid of all of it for most Americans, and most of it for business owners.

It is our belief that government should serve We, the People, with a fair tax system that will not enable politicians to pit poor against rich (creating barriers to achieve wealth, adding tax penalty to the sacrifices made for personal success). Nor do we want politicians to continue using business as a tool to hide taxes from consumers, often villifying business, which discourages entrepreneuship, personal achievement, economic growth. Liberty and happiness depends on restoring the fruits of labor to those who produce them. We believe that the tax function should align with economic growth, not against it, that government should be paid for in the same manner as working Americans - when, and because, something is sold.

As things stand at present, Americans labor under nothing less than tax slavery, having our wages confiscated every working hour, as reflected in our paychecks every two weeks.

Many of us have joined in order to build a national movement to free ourselves, our family pocketbooks, and our businesses from confiscation of income, and punishment of productivity. And this we say to our federal representatives, "Either scrap the code and enact the FairTax, or we intend on replacing you with someone who will."

(Permission is granted to reproduce in whole or part. - Ian)