Mike Huckabee argued on Thursday that the “common sense” way to improve the economy was to treat Americans with the same techniques used to “train dogs.”
Huckabee at the Republican presidential debate argued that Americans were having trouble getting ahead because “the tax system punishes them.”, adding that Americans would be better off with a national flat sales tax of 10 percent, which he refers to as the “Fair Tax” plan.
“It’s built on the common sense with which we raised our kids and train dogs,” he said . “You reward behavior you want more of. And you punish behavior you want less of.”
“That’s how I raise kids, it’s how I trained our dogs. And folks, it’s not that difficult.”
Tax Policy Center determined last year that Huckabee’s plan would actually punish the poorest Americans.
“The problem is that very high-income households spend only a fraction of their income, while low- and middle-income people spend all or most of what they make,” the Tax Policy Center observed. “A sales tax, by design, exempts a large share of income at the top. If it includes a prebate to protect people at the bottom and doesn’t add to the deficit, then it must raise taxes on people in the middle.”
Another reason to be wary about Huckabee’s statement, especially the part “That’s how I raise kids, it’s how I trained our dogs.” is that on 11 July 1998, two young men working as counselors at Camp Pioneer in Hatfield, Arkansas, tortured and killed a dog at that Boy Scout camp. One of those young men was the son of Mike Huckabee.