Mike Huckabee: A Simple Government: Book Review. Chapter 3: You Can’t Spend What You Don’t Have; You Can’t Borrow What You Can’t Pay Back. (Beware Of Politicians Offering Simple Solutions.)

March 25, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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In this chapter Huckabee discusses budget deficits and the National Debt. To put things in perspective he uses illustrations from Tutor.Com showing the relationship of money to an individual. $10,000 in $100 dollar bills to one man then 1 million then 1 billion then 1 trillion then the national debt in $100 bills to one man. This is all interesting but he should have put in the number of people now and in the future in relationship to the debt. Also the relevant fact is the size of the economy to the money we spend or owe.

(It was thought by many that Reagan bankrupted the country on military spending while he was in office. This later turned out to be untrue. However Reagan’s example started the current rampage by Republicans (notably Bush II) for deficit spending and in Bush’s case the financial meltdown due to a failure to regulate Wall Street, The banks, and mortgage lending that caused most of the deficit spending and the increase in The National Debt that came into fruition as Bush left office and the Obama Administration took over. This non-regulation or light regulation was a policy started by Reagan also. So the man Republicans look to as their great leader had a lot to do with the state of the economy today.)

To the point: Huckabee uses examples to illustrate his conclusion that are irrelevant and not productive in analyzing the issues of deficit spending or the National Debt.

SOCIAL SECURITY

As one might expect he tries to make an issue out of Social Security and other social welfare entitlements as the source of the problem.

One of his major points is that Social Security is scheduled to run out of money in 2037. He points out that the baby boomers are retiring. They are a population bubble that occurred after WWII and as they retire these people will increase the demands on Social Security. These points are true but he ignores the fact that by 2037 the vast majority of the baby boomers will have passed on. In fact they are passing on right now incrementally and the rate will increase as time goes by. Therefore what the situation will be in 2037 is anyone’s guess but if anything the baby boom bubble will be gone. Therefore any dire future prediction based on this statistic is flawed. Social Security which is funded by taxation is a political football used by the conservative right to frighten people. (Most mainstream economists think with slight adjustments Social Security will be there for everyone indefinitely. Huckabees dire consequences and equally dire solutions don’t hold water.

MEDICARE

Huckabee devotes half a page to Medicare. This is the area where there is a major funding problem. His solution is to raise the age of eligibility. (Of course then what do we do with the uninsured that need medical care if we do away with the Affordable National Healthcare Plan as he wishes to do? He doesn’t say. He said these were going to be simple solutions for government problems. So if you are uninsured and have cancer do you go to your church and neighbors. Well we know from experience that doesn’t work. Half a page to the issue of Medicare with a solution calling for the raising of the age of eligibility is absurd. Perhaps he will talk further on this issue elsewhere in this book.) Apparently by raising the eligibility age less people will have proper medical care and the simple solution is to just let them die.

WE NEED JOBS

This is an obvious conclusion. However he doesn’t say what kind of jobs; detailing the cars of the well off or jobs that are more than just menial service ones with benefits, stability and pay sufficient to support a family at a reasonable standard of living. His solution is to lower taxes especially the ones that support the social safety net in place now. That way “small business” will use the money to create jobs, hire people and everyone will be happy ever after.

(Huckabee doesn’t mention the fact that American business has trillions of dollars in their treasuries that they are not investing in the creation of new domestic jobs. Also in the case of the larger corporations, profits made abroad are not returned home to invest. This is done for the purpose of tax avoidance. However if the money was reinvested here there are many tax benefits to be obtained. So this is not the simple solution because business already has the money to invest, they just don’t know where to invest because of the advent of Globalization which reduced the need for American labor. Globalization is a financial boom for business which can create the same products using cheaper overseas plants and labor. Because of this phenomenon American workers have lost jobs and income and their standard of living is declining. On the other hand business has prospered and the gap between rich and poor in the United States has widened. He fails to propose new ideas or strategies that would create jobs except for the reduction of taxation on business.

This chapter proposes simple solutions for simpletons. Huckabee is living in the 19th Century.

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Mike Huckabee: A Simple Government: Book Review. Chapter 2: The Further You Drift From Shore, The More Likely You are To Be Lost At Sea. (Wake Up And Look Around Rip Van Winkle.)

March 13, 2011 by · Leave a Comment
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LOOKING AT THE WORLD WITH BLINDERS ON





In this chapter Huckabee explains his belief that local government is better able to take care of the concerns of its citizens as a opposed to distant governments be they county, state or Federal or World. The chapter is principally about the usurpation of power by the Federal Government. The Constitution is one of limited, enumerated powers to the Federal Government. The founders envisioned …quoting James Madison



“ The powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite. The former will be exercised principally on external objects, as war, peace, negotiation, and foreign commerce; with the last the power of taxation for the most part, be connected. The powers reserved to the several states will extend to all objects which in the ordinary course of affairs, concern the lives, liberties, and properties of the people, and the internal order, prosperity and improvement of the State.”



This chapter is mostly a polemic against Federal power entering the everyday lives of the people. He gives some examples:



The Financial Crisis



The financial crisis involving mortgages was caused by the federal government restricting the States from regulating this activity. The States were in a better position to recognize abuses in lending and curtail them. (The recent financial crisis is thought by many to be a failure of the Federal Reserve to regulate lending and the Securities and Exchange Commission to curtail the issuance and sale of worthless bonds. It is doubtful one State or many States were a position to curtail the causes by themselves. It was a failure of the Federal government to act that was the ultimate cause.)



Public Employee Unions



Public employee unions and in particular the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) are too powerful They can dictate policy to elected officials reluctant to confront them on issues that they back, like who gets hired, fired and what benefits and salary they are paid. Unionized public employees cost about 30% more in wages and 70% more in benefits than those who are not in unions. This makes the States more reliant on Federal funds to meet their budgets. Thus a degree of power has been ceded by local governments to the Federal Government and Unions on issues that are purely local matters. As it stands now many  Satate Governments can’t balance their budgets as they are required to do by law and the Federal government is running steep deficits. Public unions backed by Federal laws are weakening the ability of the States to govern themselves and in some cases bankrupting the States.



The BP Oil Spill



The Federal Government restricted the counties and States from limiting the damage done by the oil spill and it was slow to act. ( The spill was in Federal waters and affected many states so it was properly in the jurisdiction of the Federal Government. BP was responsible for the spill and clean up. The States and counties were not stopped in their cleanup efforts. Huckabee is not on solid ground in his criticism here.)



The Five Levels Of Government



The five levels of government according to Huckabee are family, local, State, Federal and World. Families should have the most control over their affairs and World bodies should have the least control over the family and concern itself with relationships between nations. ( Huckabee again has oversimplified the World we live in and quotes an authority, James Madison, from two hundred years ago who was not faced with internal and international terrorism, international drug cartels, illegal immigration, vast corporate farming enterprises, international unions and giant international companies among other things that call for a united effort by the Federal government. It was fine to envision things the way Madison did when the majority of the public was made up of two and a half million, small, self sustaining farmers. However since then the population has grown to over 300 million people, 95% of whom have moved off the farm into technical and scientifis jobs located in cities and towns. Great change requires laws and regulation promulgated on a Federal level. The rights of States are more than protected in the Senate. Therefore it is the States representatives in the Senate acting in the interests of the States who are greatly responsible for the things he complains about that they saw as necessary in a country developing from and agricultural to an industrial to now a scientific and digital economy. Huckabee should have taken the time to think things through before he published this book that was probably written by assistants. If anyone is lost it is him.)

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Mike Huckabee: A Simple Government: Book Review. Chapter 1: The Most Important Form Of Government Is A Mother, Father and Children. (This Will Solve Most Problems?)

March 8, 2011 by · 3 Comments
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HUCKABEE SPEAKING ON CELEBRITY SINGLE MOTHERS.

 

Huckabee extols the traditional nuclear family as the best way of teaching children morals, values, self discipline and human decency. This, he says is the most basic form of government.

He points out the family unit is under assault by liberals that advocate or support single motherhood, divorce and abortion. This is especially evident in the media where single mother hood or having children before marriage is common and sets a bad example for the youth who watch or read the media which extol children born out of wedlock to media types.

HUCKABEE COMDEMNING NATALIE PORTMAN
In addition the nuclear family is under attack by liberalization of divorce and abortion. Gay parents raising children is an experiment he does not think will succeed because children need responsible female and male role models to emulate and draw their values from and two persons of the same sex are unable to do this. Further their parent’s dysfunctional relationship is likely to have an adverse effect on the children. Single mothers are more prevalent in blue states (Where his values are paramount.) than red states but that is because red states have easier access to abortion according to Huckabee.

Single parenthood is detrimental to raising children with the proper outlook and values because the lack of a responsible male role model and also most single mothers are unable to properly support themselves and their children. They usually depend on government welfare for support.

Huckabee believes welfare is not a government function but should be the responsibility of churches and neighbors. (One wonders why churches and neighbors are insufficient to reduce the welfare rolls already. This is a typical conservative lip service to a concept that has proven not to work. He doesn’t discuss the one system that did work and that was the unearned income credit that raised single parent families and even increased the likelihood that families would stay together by raising income above the poverty line so long as they worked and filed a tax return. Bush lowered the amount of the unearned income credit so he also lowered the benefit of the plan for low income families and society in general. )

He criticizes those with fiscal conservative values but who are socially liberal. Huckabee thinks that conservative social values strengthens the nuclear family and creates the moral and independent values that make fiscal conservativism fall into place. Thus there is less need for a vast government with entitlement programs and regulatory bodies that are unnecessary.

(Huckabee’s observation that children raised in an economically self suffient, two parent family, with a male father and a female mother are more likely to mature as responsible adults is not unreasonable. However reality tells us there will be many deviations from this norm that society has to address. Churches and neighbors more often than not do not have the resources or expertise to address the problems of single motherhood, abortion, juvenile delinquency, dysfunctional families, inadequate education and other social problems. Further in the case of churches or neighbors; often a strong social stigma is attached to these problems and the belief the parties made their own bed and should lie in it, even the innocent children. Thus they turn a blind eye to the problems in their community. The title of this book is A Simple Government but as we all know society is complex and the problems of society are best addressed by experts who also are not always right or in agreement because the solution to societies problems are not simple.) Huckabee is over simplifying reality with pie in the sky solutions.

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