Nel's New Day

June 29, 2011

Jon Huntsman ‘Nice’ But Dangerous

Filed under: Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 3:33 PM

The far, far right conservatives have serious problems with Jon Huntsman. He doesn’t scream at his opposition, he doesn’t trash President Obama, he doesn’t lie, and he believes in civility. Instead of conforming with their garbage approach like other sheeply conservative presidential candidates, he holds the position that the GOP has moved too far to the right. True, he holds some conservative positions including those of pro-gun, pro-life, and pro-business as well as being a fiscal conservative. On the other hand, he supports same-sex civil unions and the concept of climate change.

Unfortunately for the safety of the planet, he has done a 180-degree turn from the cap-and-trade position he supported while governor of Utah, explaining that we can no longer afford to put limits on emissions in the United States. He also is adamant about vetoing a ban on assault weapons.

Huntsman’s refusal to sign pledges will irritate the Tea Party folk who are using as litmus tests the Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge (meaning not one cent of additional revenue coming into the government) and the Susan B. Anthony Pledge of opposing any abortion rights. He says that he’s running on his record and doesn’t need pledges to show his political positions.

His fiscal record shows a serious problem for the nation. Under Huntsman’s leadership,Utah changed its tax code to create a statewide flat tax, a straight 5 percent which sharply reduced taxes for the wealthy. Research showed that they paid 4.9 percent of their income while the poorest 20 percent of Utah residents paid 9 percent of their income in taxes. The other result of the flat tax was a disastrous shortfall that went from $173 million two years before he took over to $1 billion when he left in 2009 to become the ambassador to China. The year 2009 saw a $300-million loss in revenue in Utah. The state backed off his idea of eliminating corporate taxes when lawmakers realized that this would cost the state at least another $200 million in revenue. Huntsman’s family business, one of the nation’s largest chemical corporations, would greatly benefit if he could successfully slash the federal corporate tax rate.

His stand on the individual mandate of health care has shifted in the past four years. He supported it in 2007 but now opposes it. Back in 2007 he said, “We mandate insurance for cars, but not children’s health.” We don’t know if it’s okay now that children don’t have health care. He also favors more federal funding for health coverage, but Medicare would disappear under Huntsman’s leadership. He endorsed the GOP’s budget plan, the one that would turn Medicare into a voucher program with seniors paying most of their health insurance. Huntsman embraced the Ryan program despite saying that, in years past, it would have (and should have) been “laughed out of the room.”

While other candidates run around the country claiming that they will force a constitutional amendment preventing states from legislating same-sex marriage, as New York did less than a week ago, Huntsman said that he would respect state decisions–a fresh approach after the last few months of vitriolic speeches.

A member of the Mormon church, he indicates that he is more “spiritual” than religious and that his Mormon membership is “tough to define.” Evangelicals worry about the Mormon religion because it’s not their own.

In his announcement of candidacy, he said, “We will conduct this campaign on the high road,” describing modern political debate as mostly “corrosive.” While candidates such as Bachmann are trying to back down from earlier statements that President Obama is “un-American,” Huntsman focuses on the issues such as the mounting debt and creating jobs. (Of course, all the Republicans campaigned last year on creating jobs before they got elected and proceed to take away women’s and worker’s rights.) Jon Huntsman appears to be a gentleman; politics for the next year would be far different in the next 18 months if the other candidates tried to match his current level of civility.

Despite—or perhaps because of—his demeanor, blogger Anthony Orlando finds him a very dangerous man. “As a share of the economy, federal tax revenue is the lowest it’s been since the 1940s. The United States has lower tax revenue, as a share of the economy, than every industrialized country except Australia. The average federal income tax rate for a median-income family of four is the lowest it’s been in over five decades, as is corporate tax revenue. Small businesses are less concerned about taxes than they were in the 1990s (or in 2006, for that matter). Taxes don’t seem to be stopping corporate executives, whose compensation increased 18% in 2010, or nonresidential investment, which has long since returned to its pre-recession growth rate.”

None of the candidates, including Jon Huntsman,  seems to know these facts and understand what their tax policies would do to the country.

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