Mike Huckabee continues to struggle to stand out from the rest of the crowded Republican presidential field. His latest cry for attention is his suggestion that the Federal Income Tax should be replaced with a national sales tax (which he calls a "consumption tax"). Huckabee endorsed the so-called Fair Tax, which would eliminate the income taxes on both individuals and corporations, and replace it with a sales tax on all goods and services (including homes). The idea here is that the tax is voluntary--if you don't want to pay taxes, you don't spend your money. So, if you don't want to "voluntarily" pay taxes, you just don't buy food, or electricity, or that kidney transplant you've been eyeing. Of course, if you can afford to go to, say, Europe to buy things like medical care or a yacht or a summer home, no one there will charge you a sales tax.
Of course, everyone understands that sales taxes are regressive--they weigh heaviest on those who are least able to pay them. The Fair Tax people plan to get around this by paying a "prebate" to lower income people to offset the taxes they'll have to pay on necessities. Of course, the government will decide what constitutes "necessities"--won't it be nice to have someone else figure that out for you?
No one's denying that the current tax system is unfair and complicated, but you can be sure that a tax system endorsed by the likes of Neal Boortz and John Boozman isn't being put together to take care of poor working people. Huckabee loves regressive sales taxes--he opposed removing sales taxes on groceries while governor of Arkansas--but his record on taxes has been attacked by conservatives, so he is desperate to do something to position himself as a "true conservative" and to draw attention to his floundering campaign. This tax tactic worked well for Steve Forbes, didn't it?