GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. –- Mike Huckabee met with over a hundred pastors on Saturday morning to ask them to consider supporting him and when asked about his tax proposal, he said, "Well, you wouldn't pay taxes on anything you earned, period. There wouldn't be any taxes on income."
Light laughter started to ripple through the room, as if in disbelief and certainly unfamiliarity with the "Fair Tax" idea, which proposes to scrap all federal income tax and replace it with a national sales tax. Supporters of this tax system believe it will boost the economy by no longer penalizing individual productivity while at the same time creating a tax structure that does not discourage corporations and small businesses for operating in the US.
Unfazed, Huckabee continued, "So frankly, it takes away all the taxes not just on your productivity but anybody's productivity, which I think is a much more efficient economic model. But here's one thing it does, it gets rid of the IRS. I mean, there is no IRS in this system."
"Why should we let some government regulatory body dictate to us the terms of the First Amendment? That's the most absurd thing I've ever heard of."
Loud, if scattered, applause broke to ease the awkwardness of the initial crowd response.
Huckabee continued," So part of the benefit of the Fair Tax for pastors and for churches is, there's no longer this threat hanging over your head about what you can do. And I think that is one of the great pluses the Fair Tax, one of the many reasons that I embrace it, not only for the economic reasons, but I think for matters of freeing people up and no to be intimidated by the IRS."
Huckabee joked, "I believe this: the only person to which you have to confess is to your pastor or your priest, not to the IRS."
Michigan state Rep. Fulton Sheen, who served as chairman of Mitt Romney's Faith and Values Committee, publicly switched his support to Mike Huckabee this weekend largely because of his tax proposal. Sheen believes it will make a "huge difference" in reviving Michigan's sagging economy.
"Mitt Romney was, in the last couple of months, beginning to oppose the Fair Tax proposal," said Sheen. "My greatest concern is the Michigan Fair Tax proposal because I introduced it here in the state. And it's going to be in the ballot in November."
He continued, "That…and my heart's resonating with the words [Huckabee] is saying."