Fiscal and Social Conservatives

Recently I criticized Sen. Jim DeMint for saying, “It’s impossible to be a fiscal conservative unless you’re a social conservative,” and I noted that former governor Mike Huckabee had made similar points. Yesterday on “Fox News Sunday” Huckabee said, “all social conservatives I know are also fiscal conservatives. Not necessarily the other way around.”

Well, I can tell you one social conservative who isn’t a fiscal conservative – former governor Mike Huckabee. Here’s what Cato’s “Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors” reported in 2006, at the end of Huckabee’s tenure as governor of Arkansas:

Final-Term Grade, F; Final Overall Grade, D

Thanks to a final term grade of F, Huckabee earns an overall grade of D for his entire governorship. Like many Republicans, his grades dropped the longer he stayed in office. In his first few years, he fought hard for a sweeping $70 million tax cut package that was the first broad-based tax cut in the state in more than 20 years. He even signed a bill to cut the state’s 6 percent capital gains tax—a significant pro-growth accomplishment. But nine days after being reelected in 2002, he proposed a sales tax increase to cover a budget deficit caused partly by large spending increases that he proposed and approved, including an expansion in Medicare eligibility that Huckabee made a centerpiece of his 1997 agenda. He agreed to a 3 percent income tax “surcharge” and a 25-cent cigarette tax increase. In response to a court order to increase spending on education, Huckabee proposed another sales tax increase. Huckabee wants to run for the GOP presidential nomination next year. He’s already been hailed as a viable big-government conservative candidate by some. That seems about right: Huckabee’s leadership has left taxpayers in Arkansas much worse off.