Mike Huckabee in 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida

On Budget & Economy: Stimulus plan is $150B from China, to spend on Chinese goods

Q: What do you think of the presidentís economic stimulus plan to send out 116 million checks to American homes?

A: In talking about the stimulus package, one of the concerns that I have is that weíll probably end up borrowing this $150 billion from th Chinese. And when we get those rebate checks, most people are going to go out and buy stuff thatís been imported from China. I have to wonder whose economy is going to be stimulated the most by the package. And Iím grateful that something is being done.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Families & Children: Understand the totality of the American family

If you talk to the people at the bottom of the economy, the people who are handling the bags, the people who are serving the food, you get a very different picture, because their health care costs are up dramatically. The cost to educate their children are up. The cost of their fuel has way outstripped any wage increase theyíve had. Now, often we hear people talk about trickle-down economics, that if you have a wonderful surge in the economy that it eventually works it way down to all sectors. But thereís another issue, too: there is a trickle-up impact when the economy begins to go sour. And if you pay attention to the people who are the single moms and the working people who barely get from paycheck to paycheck, youíd find out months in advance that this economy was headed for a downward turn. What people need in the president, is somebody who understands the totality of the American family and not just the folks at the top.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Principles & Values: Ought to be able to respect people who donít have any faith

We ought to be able to respect people who donít have any faith. I donít feel like a person has to share my faith to share my love of this country. If a person hates me because of my faith, Iím not sure if they understand what it means to truly be an American, where we can live with each other no matter how different our faith is. Faith has been an important part of who this country is. Most Americans believe in God. If you want a president that doesnít, youíll have to pick somebody else.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Principles & Values: People should deal with the use of faith in my campaign

Q: A Bush administration official said that, quote, your use of faith in your campaign gave him a ďqueasy feeling.Ē Your response?

A: I would say that would be his problem, not mine. My faith does not give me a queasy feeling; it gives me a solid core from which Iím able to live every day. I donít wake up every day and have to look at a poll to decide what I believe. My faith grounds me. It gives me some sense of direction and purpose. I donít try to impose it on other people, and I certainly would never use the auspices of government to try to push my faith. But for me to run from it? Impossible. Itís who I am. If it gives some people a queasy feeling, then theyíll have to deal with it. The fact is, this country has always been a country where people were able to respect people who had faith.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Social Security: Will try to fix Social Security with FairTax

Weíre in trouble is because we have a smaller group of people paying into the Social Security system, fewer wage earners, more Americans getting their wealth from dividends and from investments. Iím a strong supporter of the Fair Tax is that you suddenly have a different funding stream for Social Security. It comes out of the general fund. So you now have a more reliable, a more stable and a much broader funding system that will supply Social Security.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Tax Reform: FairTax will tax the average American much less

Q: How does that help the 93 percent of Americans who are paying 15% or less right now?

A: Theyíre not paying 15 percent; thatís in their visible tax in the terms of the takeout from their checks. When you include the built-in tax, the embedded tax in the products we buy that corporations build in, the average American is paying 33% in his or her taxes. It would be a dramatic difference if the taxpayers got to choose the taxes, which they would do under the FairTax.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Tax Reform: FairTax and its prebate untax the poor and the elderly

People would love to see the IRS abolished. The harder you work, the more you earn, the more the IRS and the government wants from you. What the FairTax does is says, we want you to earn; we want you to save and we want you to buy things and sell things and make a profit. It goes to the common sense of the idea that we should encourage people to work and get something for it. A lot of people have never read the entire FairTax because when I first heard about the FairTax, the consumption tax, quite frankly it sounds like it would be oppressive and regressive to the poor. The poor come out best of all because of the provision in the FairTax called the prebate in which every American, each month, is given the amount of the FairTax back up to the level of poverty. Everybody gets it, not just those under the level of poverty. It actually untaxes the poor, untaxes the elderly. It makes sure that we donít end up paying taxes on groceries and medicine and the basic necessities of life.
Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Tax Reform: FactCheck: To be revenue-neutral, FairTax raises some taxes

In a lengthy exchange, Huckabee praised the FairTax, saying: ďFor each third of the economy, there is a benefit, about a 14% benefit for those at the bottom; those in the middle, about a 7%; even those at the very top end of the economy end up with about a 5% benefit.Ē

Huckabeeís claim that everyone will pay less is a fantasy. The FairTax claims to be revenue neutral. That means that it has to collect the same $2.4 trillion that the current system collects. And remember that the FairTax replaces corporate income and payroll taxes. That means that individuals have to pony up to replace those in addition to replacing the sums collected via personal income and payroll taxes.

So Huckabee is suggesting that the FairTax will generate exactly the same revenue while collecting nothing from corporations and still costing everyone less than they are currently paying. We certainly hope Huckabee has a barrel of magic pixie dust buried somewhere.

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Tax Reform: FactCheck: FairTax does not bring underground into economy

Huckabee said about the FairTax, ďEverybody gets in the economy--no more underground economy. Drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, gamblers, non-Republicans--all of those people out there will be paying taxes. Nobodyís working under the table.Ē

Huckabeeís suggestion that the FairTax will end the underground economy is highly unlikely. Itís true that pimps and drug dealers will now be taxed when they spend their earnings. But will they really charge johns and junkies sales tax on their purchases Itís a better deal for the person buying the sex or drugs, and a worse deal for the person selling it.

In fact, far from ending the underground economy, there is a real possibility that the FairTax will feed it growth hormones. There would probably be two prices--one you can pay with a check or credit card that includes the FairTax and one you can pay in cash & save 23%. Because there would no longer be any audits of income, tracing such tax evasion would be extremely difficult

Source: FactCheck.org on 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On Technology: $150B for highway infrastructure is better stimulus package

If weíre going to spend $150 billion [as in Bushís economic stimulus package], Iíd like to suggest that maybe we add two lanes of highway from Bangor all the way to Miami on I-95. A third of the United States population lives within 100 miles of that. This nationís infrastructure is falling apart. And if we built those lanes of highways--with American labor, American steel, American concrete--I believe it would do more to stimulate the economy.

And the reason I say that is because when we were going through a recession in my state, we were in the middle of a billion-dollar highway construction program that brought about 40,000 jobs and brought a billion dollars of capital into the economy. Thatís a long- term stimulus package that I think would have more impact on the American long-term future. And it would keep social capital from being wasted, fuel wasted. A lot of people sit around in traffic every day, and weíve done nothing about it.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

On War & Peace: Failing to find the WMDs doesnít mean they werenít there

Q: Was the war worth the price in blood & treasure?

A: I supported Bush when he led us into this. We owe him our thanks that he had the courage to recognize a potential of weapons of mass destruction, and whether than wait until we had another attack, he went and made sure that it wasnít going to happen from Saddam Hussein. Everybody can say we didnít find the weapons. It doesnít mean they werenít there. Just because you didnít find every Easter egg didnít mean that it wasnít planted.

Source: 2008 GOP debate in Boca Raton Florida Jan 24, 2008

The above quotations are from 2008 Republican presidential debate in Boca Raton, on Jan. 24, 2008, the eve of the Florida primary. Moderated by NBC's Brian Williams; hosted by the St. Petersburg Times..
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Foreign Policy
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Gun Control
Health Care
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Tax Reform
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