A New Hampshire exchange between Mitt Romney and Mike Huckabee dramatizes the disconnect in many peoples’ minds between public services and taxes.
Romney asked Huckabee (paraphrasing), “Did you or did you not raise taxes while governor of Arkansas?” Huckabee replied, “I invested in public infrastructure and the state’s future.” Romney, “You are not answering my question.” After twenty seven years starting with Reagan we have been bombarded with the message that taxes are bad and simply not related to government services. Thus, Huckabee deemed it prudent not to use the tax word. He apparently feels that he cannot simply say that he raised taxes to invest in the state.
The Republicans have succeeded in the war of words and symbolic politics. They get applause for supporting wars and a strong military while cutting taxes. The Republicans label the Democrats as the “tax and spend party,” while they have become the “spend and increase the debt party.” I guess that many Americans believe in the tooth fairy.