An editorial in the Arkansas Leader laments Sen. Gilbert Baker's support of the "fair tax," which would "substitute a giant national sales tax for corporate and personal income taxes."
Still, it is disappointing. In spite of his right-wing pronouncements in this race, Baker was always a pragmatic lawmaker in his stints in the Arkansas House of Representatives and Senate. He was known even to vote for taxes for good causes. His transmogrification into a reactionary follows the pattern of his mentor, Mike Huckabee, including his embrace of the national sales tax.
Substituting a broad sales tax for income taxes would shift the tax burden more radically from the rich to working people. Its adherents, like Huckabee, claim that its regressive effect would be offset by a government rebate to everyone to offset the taxes on what it costs to live in poverty. But the tax rate would need to be so huge — more than 30 percent by independent estimates — that it would lower the lifestyle of people of median incomes and less, and also accelerate the shift of wealth to the top one percent of Americans.
But what about the other candidates in the race? The Leader leaves out Rep. John Boozman, who's done more than voice support for such an idea. Boozman is actually a co-sponsor of H.R. 25, a national sales tax bill introduced in the U.S. House by Rep. John Linder (R-GA) that has been referred to the House Ways and Means Committee.
UPDATE: The campaign fundraising figures keep rolling in. Gilbert Baker's campaign sent out a news release saying he's raised nearly $1 million in his bid for the Republican nomination to run against Sen. Lincoln.