Politics & Government

Huckabee touts FairTax, leadership while fundraising in Charlotte

By Sam Hardiman

shardiman@charlotteobserver.com

AP

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, one of 18 candidates for the Republican presidential nomination, touted his leadership experience and the “FairTax” economic plan to reporters during a brief fundraising stop Friday in Charlotte.

Following an afternoon of meetings with supporters and ahead of a fundraiser at Myers Park Country Club, Huckabee spent several minutes with reporters at the offices of Carolinas Investment Consulting. He spent most of the time on an economic plan Huckabee says would transform the country’s economy by only taxing at the point of sale.

He said the plan – which he claims would bring back $11 trillion in U.S. funds “parked offshore” – would lure manufacturing back to North Carolina and the U.S..

“North Carolina is a state that once was once a vibrant state in the manufacturing of furniture and textiles. A lot of the those jobs went to Mexico and to China,” Huckabee said, “because if something’s made in North Carolina 22 percent of the cost of it is embedded taxes.... So there’s a built-in 22 percent advantage to build something overseas even though we may create the idea of it here.”

Huckabee said critics of the proposal “know just enough to be dangerous,” and used the example of a factory worker pulling a double-shift as an example of how it would help the bottom third of the economy the most. He said the worker doubling his hours doesn’t double his salary under the current tax structure because more pay allows the government to take a larger cut.

Under the FairTax plan, Huckabee said, that worker would double his salary.

He said, like he did at the Iowa State Fair earlier in the week, “I governed in Arkansas against the Bill and Hillary Clinton political machine.... We need somebody who has been a governor. This is not a time for on-the-job training so I think it’s not a good idea to elect a freshman senator. We’ve done that over the past 6 1/2 years and it hasn’t really worked out real well.”

He said Donald Trump has “great executive experience and skills and he’s a formidable, viable candidate. Look, everyone on that stage, even the freshman senators are viable candidates and any one of them would be better than the president we have right now because at least they would have the right world view and philosophy.”

Huckabee finished a distant second to John McCain in the 2008 North Carolina Republican primary.

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