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Mike Huckabee’s plan for the economy

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Scott Jagow: This week on the Marketplace programs, we’re talking to economic advisors for the presidential candidates. This morning, it’s Republican Mike Huckabee’s turn. His adviser is French Hill. French, I know Governor Huckabee is generally supportive of the president’s short-term stimulus plan. What does he have in mind long-term?

French Hill: Really, the best tax cuts or fiscal stimulus that one could design would be permanent, you know, and not temporary. And in that regard, the governor has called for the Bush tax cuts made permanent, which would reduce taxation on savings and investment and capital gains, and would incent people to save, invest and start new businesses. And in addition to taxes, other topics that Governor Huckabee would think would be important would be reducing regulatory burden on businesses and business formation.

Jagow: What about the tax system itself? This Fair Tax proposal has obviously gotten a lot of attention. Can you distill for me what the primary advantage of the Fair Tax system versus the system we have now?

Hill: The Fair Tax system taxes consumption. So instead of taxing our incomes, or our investment incomes, or our capital gains from selling an investment, a farm or a business or a stock or a bond, it taxes our consumption. And therefore, there is no penalty on capital formation or savings and investment. That is a fundamental number one. Number two is it has a much lower administrative burden. Sure, there are many challenges to its enactment, and therefore I think that’s why the governor has said we ought to have a pathway to a fair tax, which would include making those Bush tax cuts permanent and lower the tax rates on corporations, which are among the highest in the world.

Jagow: Has he had any experiences on the campaign trail, that you know of, that have perhaps changed his ideas on the economy at all?

Hill: One story comes to mind was a factory worker, I believe in Michigan, that had taken a second job to help put his daughter through graduate school. And he told the governor, he said, “You know, when I got my paycheck from that second job, almost all that extra income I earned went to pay the extra tax that I had to pay, because I was pushed up into a higher tax bracket.” This is not what a tax system should do. Mike has heard these sorts of stories, and they really motivated him to stand up for everyone in the economy, not just those that are running and owning businesses.

Jagow: French Hill, he’s a senior adviser for Mike Huckabee’s campaign. Thanks for joining us.

Hill: It was a pleasure.

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