I recently wrote about Huckabee’s fair tax gambit and wondered why he was getting away with proposing a tax increase on the middle class.
Brad DeLong runs with the idea, and with one thrust of his mighty sword, skewers Huckabee, the FairTax, and the Media’s reporting on economic issues.
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.
This is part of a pattern with Huckabee. Anxious to distinguish himself on policies from his competitors but without the staff and the network to perform due diligence on policy proposals, he ends up with ideas that aren’t fully worked out and don’t make much substantive policy sense.
Does the FairTax make political sense? It is hard to see how — at least not if people know what he is really proposing. After all, a lot more people make between $30,000 and $200,000 a year than make more than $200,000. Politicians prefer, other things being equal, to take positions that are advantageous to more people rather than those that are advantageous to fewer.
So why is Huckabee doing this?
I believe the reason is that he is counting on people not knowing what he is really promising. I believe he is counting on the nigh total fecklessness of America’s press corps — a fecklessness that I at least now see as deployed with a sharp partisan edge.
He also references my favorite blog…
As economist John Irons laments on his blog, ArgMax.com: “I’m not sure how he is getting away with adopting the FairTax as part of his platform. Wouldn’t Democrats be skewered in the media if they proposed a tax increase on people making between $30,000 and $200,000?” Yes.
And so the circle of life continues….