Yes there were over 90 of them, but they totaled all of 378 Million dollars. That's a pretty good chunk of change, until you look at his tax hikes.
There were a total of only 21 tax hikes, but they totaled $883.1 Million dollars in increased taxes, and gave a net tax increase of $933 per person in just 8 years in office, an increase of 47% from the starting point of $1,969 per person in state and local taxes.
The Club for Growth, a PAC that seeks economic freedom in candidates rates Mike Huckabee as very poor on not only taxes, but spending, entitlements, government regulations, mediocre at school choice, and only one plus was at tort reform.
Mike Huckabee reminds me of Bob Corker; He looks nice and shiny on the outside, but if you start to scratch the surface, you find a lot of crap. Huckabee has taken notes from former Arkansas governor turned President Bill Clinton, and has told conservatives what they want to hear. The only problem is they are so fixated on his evangelical background that they forgot to look at his voting records.
Governor Huckabee's record on pro-growth, free-market policies is a mixed bag, with pro-growth positions on trade and tort reform, mixed positions on school choice, political speech, and entitlement reform, and profoundly anti-growth positions on taxes, spending, and government regulation.
While Governor Huckabee's record displays some flashes of economic conservatism, especially during his early years, the overwhelming evidence of his record and rhetoric over the past ten years leaves the Club for Growth and economic conservatives around the country to wonder if a President Huckabee would espouse the relatively pro-growth policies of Governor Huckabee circa 1997 or the anti-growth policies of Governor Huckabee circa 2004. While the Governor has made a concerted effort to defend his record, calling oneself an economic conservative does not make one so. His recent refusals to rule out raising taxes if elected President-the cornerstone of a pro-growth platform-perhaps indicate which path he would choose.
Over the past ten months, it has become abundantly clear which path Governor Huckabee has chosen, and it looks more like the path of John Edwards than it does a limited-government, economic conservative. Huckabee himself admits that he is a "different kind of Republican," a code word for more government involvement, less personal freedom, and greater dependence on government bureaucrats. Huckabee is proud of his tax hikes, his spending increases, and his regulatory expansions as governor, and he has not indicated that he would govern any differently as President. Nominating Mike Huckabee for president or vice-president, would constitute an abject rejection of the free-market, limited-government, economic conservatism that has been the unifying theme of the Republican Party for decades. - Club for Growth
Of other candidates, Club for Growth states;
Senator Thompson's eight-year record in the U.S. Senate demonstrates an admirable commitment to limited government and free-market principles. His record on entitlement reform and school choice is excellent, while his support for lower taxes and free trade is very good. On Social Security reform in particular, Thompson courageously supported personal accounts at a time when few politicians were willing to risk their necks taking on the third rail of American politics.John McCain
His record on spending (save the occasional pork project) is generally impressive, as demonstrated by his votes to restrict the growth and reach of the federal government. On regulation, too, Thompson voted generally against government intrusion in the private sector. Many Republican politicians talk about limited government and the principle of federalism but Thompson exemplified those ideas, often voting against bills that would have made it easy for a political opponent to paint him in a negative light.
While this strong federalist philosophy casts a redemptive light on his opposition to tort reform, it does not fully excuse or explain a number of his votes. His persistent federalism also makes his role in the passage of McCain-Feingold all the more disappointing. It is difficult to reconcile Thompson's fervent belief in a limited government with his enthusiasm for increasing government regulation on political speech. Thompson has never adequately addressed this contradiction and will have to do so. His recent doubts over the legislation's efficacy are encouraging, least of all because all politicians make mistakes, and rare are those willing to admit their own.
While John McCain can easily point to a handful of pro-growth votes over his twenty-four years in Congress, a deeper look at Senator McCain's record and rhetoric, especially in recent years, ought to give American taxpayers a long and hard pause.
To give credit where it's due, John McCain's record on spending, school choice, and free trade is extremely positive. His go-it-alone moralism sometimes results in pro-growth policies, as is the case in his anti-pork crusades. However, this moralism often manifests itself in the form of more government, less freedom, and a distrust of the individual and the free market system. This is dramatically the case in his opposition to the Bush tax cuts, his class-warfare rhetoric, his occasional support for large-scale increased government regulation, his willingness to raise Social Security taxes, and of course, his abysmal record on political free speech.
Senator McCain's outspoken pursuit of anti-growth and anti-free-market policies in the realms of taxes, regulation, and campaign finance reveals a philosophical ambivalence, if not hostility, about limited government and personal freedom. This ambivalence, combined with a rebellious nature, often leaves taxpayers the victims of his latest cause célèbre. Despite his positive votes-and there are several-his negative positions have tainted, perhaps beyond repair, the positive ones over his twenty-four years in Congress. The evidence of his record and the virulence of his rhetoric suggest that American taxpayers cannot expect consistently strong economic policies from a McCain administration.
There is no doubt that Rudy Giuliani took some anti-growth positions over his eight years as mayor of America's largest city. From his support for extending income tax surcharges, to his affinity for corporate welfare projects, to his vocal opposition to NAFTA, there are undoubtedly some stains on Giuliani's fiscal record.
However, any exploration of a municipal executive record has to be colored by the unique context in which that record is achieved. Some of Giuliani's positions are understandable given the liberal constituency he represented-such as his support for New York City rent control; others-like his support for McCain-Feingold and the 2003 Medicare Prescription Drug Plan-are not. In New York City, Rudy Giuliani governed a locality that was thoroughly dominated by liberal Democrats; public sector labor unions; social welfare activists; and a powerful local news media actively hostile to a limited-government philosophy. In the face of such tremendous headwind, Giuliani's fiscal accomplishments are remarkable.
Despite powerful local obstacles, Giuliani was able to significantly cut taxes; hold spending increases down below the rates of inflation and population growth; overhaul the welfare system; deregulate and privatize many local government services; and join the fight for school choice. These accomplishments played a crucial role in transforming New York City from an economic basket case into a thriving economy.
The most important question is what Giuliani's mayoral tenure tells us about how he would govern if elected president. The answer is not clear cut, as some of his local positions are worrisome and some of his federal positions are still unknown. Nonetheless, one cannot help but conclude that if Giuliani could accomplish the pro-growth record he did in the hostile environment of New York City, the potential for him to accomplish even more amid the more politically balanced federal government is great.
As Massachusetts Governor, Mitt Romney's record on economic issues was generally good. He demonstrated a willingness to take on his Legislature and deserves credit for the many pro-growth measures he advocated and the modest reforms he was able to achieve. While his record on taxes, spending and entitlement reform is flawed, it is, on balance, encouraging, especially given the liberal Massachusetts Legislature. His record on trade, school choice, regulations, and tort reform all indicate a strong respect for the power of market solutions.
At the same time, Governor Romney's history is marked by statements at odds with his gubernatorial record and his campaign rhetoric. His strident opposition to the flat tax; his refusal to endorse the Bush tax cuts in 2003; his support for various minor tax hikes; and his once-radically bad views on campaign finance reform all cast some doubts on the extent and durability of his commitment to limited-government, pro-growth policies. His landmark steps in the health care arena also exhibit a mixture of desirable pro-free market efforts combined with a regrettable willingness to accept, if not embrace, a massive new regulatory regime. Nevertheless, given his outstanding private sector entrepreneurial experience; the strong pro-growth positions he has taken on the campaign trail; his overall record as governor; and the fact that the U.S. Congress will not be as liberal as the Massachusetts Legislature, we are reasonably optimistic that, as President, Mitt Romney would generally advocate a pro-growth agenda.
When it comes to limited government, there are few champions as steadfast and principled as Representative Ron Paul. In the House of Representatives, he plays a very useful role constantly challenging the status quo and reminding his colleagues, despite their frequent indifference, that our Constitution was meant to limit the power of government. On taxes, regulation, and political free speech his record is outstanding. While his recent pork votes are troubling, the vast majority of his anti-spending votes reflect a longstanding desire to cut government down to size.
But Ron Paul is a purist, too often at the cost of real accomplishments on free trade, school choice, entitlement reform, and tort reform. It is perfectly legitimate, and in fact vital, that think tanks, free-market groups, and individual members of congress develop and propose idealized solutions. But presidents have the responsibility of making progress, and often, Ron Paul opposes progress because, in his mind, the progress is not perfect. In these cases, although for very different reasons, Ron Paul is practically often aligned with the most left-wing Democrats, voting against important, albeit imperfect, pro-growth legislation.
Ron Paul is, undoubtedly, ideologically committed to pro-growth limited government policies. But his insistence on opposing all but the perfect means that under a Ron Paul presidency we might never get a chance to pursue the good too.
And of course, the Democrats are absolutely appalling.
Hillary Clinton, Barak Obama, and John Edwards are nearly identical in their opposition to economic freedom and their determination to expand the size of government. If they showed any glimmer of moderation in the Senate, their recent rhetoric and policy proposals leave no doubt as to their desire to move the Democratic Party leftward on economic issues. They often seem locked in a three-way battle to see who can be the most anti-growth in their economic policies. More often than not, John Edwards wins that designation, outdoing Clinton and Obama in inflammatory rhetoric and in big-government policy proposals, truly mastering the art of class-warfare politics. That said, the differences between the trio are merely variations on the same theme. All three have backed and are proposing policies that would prove disastrous for economic growth in this country.
Bill Richardson is clearly more pro-growth than his opponents and not prone to the kind of demagogic pronouncements that we so often hear from the other Democrats. As governor, he demonstrated that he understands -- at least on a basic level -- that less government and lower taxes can lead to increased economic growth. While in Congress, Richardson also had a better record on spending, trade, and tort reform than his rivals for the presidential nomination. Yet, Richardson is not running as a pro-economic growth Democrat in the mold of John F. Kennedy. He has spent little time boasting about his net tax cuts as governor or talking about the importance of free trade.
It is a shame none of these candidates have learned from the successes of Kennedy, who enacted pro-growth tax policies, and President Bill Clinton, who enacted pro-growth trade policies. The Kennedy tax cuts and the Clinton trade policies greatly expanded opportunity, created new jobs, and created wealth that benefited all Americans. There is no rule that says Democrats cannot support pro-growth policies, and there is a real dearth in the party for just that kind of Democrat.
Originally posted at: GOP & College
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