Quin, my point wasn’t to criticize Bob Riley’s record in its entirely. His 2003 tax plan seems to have been an anomaly — but it was an act of fiscal heterodoxy and a strong example of the trend I was discussing.
Riley’s plan was a $1.2 billion net tax increase. He did not seek to address the regressivity of Alabama’s tax code by increasing personal exemptions but rather by engaging in redistributive taxation. And he explicitly justified this redistributive taxation on Biblical grounds: “Jesus says one of our missions is to take care of the least among us.”
The plan was heavily influenced by a liberal evangelical named Susan Pace Hamill, who was profiled by the American Prospect. It is worth noting that the plan was praised by liberals, religious and secular alike, and opposed by most conservatives. The debate played a role in the Alabama state chapter of the Christian Coalition, which was against the tax hike, separating from the national organization, which favored it. Jeremy Lott covered the strange-bedfellows aspect of this for The American Spectator.
After Alabama voters solidly rejected the tax plan, Riley reverted to a more traditional fiscal conservatism. But for part of 2003, he certainly seemed influenced by the more expansive view of government embraced by some younger evangelicals today.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?
H/T to National Review Online