As the US gears up for the first presidential election events of 2008 in Iowa and New Hampshire, we asked a panel of six Iowans to tell us who they will be voting for in their state caucus on 3 January, and why.
Researcher | Republican
Mike Huckabee connects with me in my Christian background, hunting background and conservatism.
"I began my support of Governor Huckabee during the summer of 2007 during the Iowa Republican Party straw poll. I went along because of the FairTax rally, supporting a plan which would eliminate all taxes based on income and replace them with a 23% sales tax.
Occupation: Soya bean research
Last election voted:
In 10 words or less: Opinionated, funny, serious, political-junkie, science geek, sports fan
The chief Republican candidate who embraced the FairTax was the governor of Arkansas, who is also a bass guitar player for the classic rock band, Capital Offense - Mike Huckabee. The FairTax would create the largest shift of power from the US government to the people.
Not only did I find myself excited about his FairTax support, I also was very excited that he played in a rock band, a genre I enjoy.
His 10 years as governor of Arkansas have given Mike Huckabee the experience of managing a state. Furthermore, his work as a Baptist minister in Arkansas provided him with a critical role of dealing with common people, as their spiritual and community leader.
His experience with executive business and with the common folk (both in a leadership role) only adds to the breadth of people he can lead.
In addition, he has the ability and record of defeating the Clinton machine in Arkansas, heading toward a more conservative road.
He connects with me in my Christian background, my hunting background, as well as a general conservatism that needs to outlive the Clinton legacy in Arkansas and in the USA."
We want to hear what you think, so send us your comments using the forms at the bottom of the panel's updated views.
The readers' panel has been selected from as wide a cross-section of people as possible and may not be representative of wider US public opinion.
I disagree with Courtney's view that a sales tax is a fairer tax than income tax. I also do not trust leaders who have religion or any other "ism" such as communism or fascism, that claims to have the answer to everything and to be the fount of all good. Such people use their beliefs as a substitute for rational thought. Over and over again the world has suffered murderous tyrannies and been plunged into wars because of them.
David Butler, Glasgow, UK
How can removing income tax and relacing it with a flat sales tax be a fair tax. It will only serve to hurt the poor the most and benefit the rich. If for instance somebody is at the moment exempt from tax due to earning very little, and the little they have is exclusively used to buy products to live they will now essentially be paying whatever tax at the rate of the sales tax. Somebody wealthy however may pay 50% income tax, which will now be reduced to the sales tax which is all they will have to pay. If however they do not spend all their money on consumption their tax burden will reduce even further.
Martin Kenny, Bath UK
Courtney Solberg replies:
The FairTax that I mention is a bit more involved than just 23% added tax. Embedded taxes imposed on businesses are removed and replaced with the FairTax. It takes quite a commentary to get through a few of the details. Perhaps a summary of the FairTax is warranted. It's at www.fairtax.org.
I hate to burst Courtney's bubble, but this is not a Christian country. Whoever wins the presidency needs to keep their religious beliefs out of their government decisions/policies. George Bush and his evangelicals have brought this country to the brink of ruin and I for one would welcome a return of the "Clinton Machine" if it means that we can see a good economy again, bring troops home from a blood for oil war, and get health care for everyone.
Beverly Jennings, Kansas City, Missouri