I'm no big fan of Haley Barbour and I think he represents the "Country Club" faction of the Mississippi GOP. Nevertheless, I plan to vote for him. I strongly believe he deserves another term as Governor. I disagree with his stand on the tobacco-grocery tax swap, but I respect his stand of not raising taxes.
I know there are still problems with the Hurricane Katrina Recovery. But he showed extraordinary leadership on August 29, 2005, when the hurricane hit. He was on top of the tragedy and he did a yeoman job in getting relief to the Gulf Coast. I don't like the slow recovery, but that's government for you---slow as molasses. His leadership was in strong contrast to Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blank-o and the New Orleans Mayor EmptyRay Noggin.
John Arthur Eaves, Jr. slams Barbour for his blind trust and getting money from his lobbying firm. That's a fair criticism. But what about Eaves? He's a trial lawyer who has made millions from the agony and tragedy of others. He gets fat contingency fees and sues at the drop of a hat if he thinks he can make a buck. I'm not crazy about lobbyists, but I have raw contempt for trial lawyers. I still remember years ago about some trial lawyer in another state suing McDonald's because some lady spilled hot coffee on herself while driving her auto.
Another strong criticism is his lack of knowledge of basic economics and accounting. In one of his ads (and they are very good ads), he accuses "Big Oil" (Why not "Big Law"?) of gouging consumers and the government does not do a thing. Perhaps he needs to understand a little accounting. Most oil companies use FIFO--First In First Out--inventory pricing. Let's say Exxon sells a barrel of oil for $100. Under FIFO, the cost of the oil would be the oldest inventory. So let's say the barrel cost $50. So, Exxon had made a profit of $50. But that is a fictitious profit because the replacement cost is $88 a barrel. In reality, oil profits are only 4.6% of revenue. The normal profit margin for all industries is 5.4%. And I'll bet it's a lot lower than the profit at Eaves' firm. Eaves strikes me as ignorant about economics and the free market. Barbour does know business and the marketplace. And his lobbying connections just might bring more industries and jobs to the state.
While I admire Eaves' fundamentalist Christian values and exhortations, I was turned off when he held up that big Bible and ripped into Barbour, talking about Eaves' serving the little people and Barbour serving the powerful. Yeah, lobbying firms are powerful. But what about those trial lawyer firms like Dicky Scruggs? They aren't powerful?
I also have doubts about Eaves' statement his proposal that every child be covered by health insurance. He said it won't raise the cost of medical care in this state. Where have I heard that before? Back in 1965 when Medicare was being debated, the liberals said Medicare would cost only $10 billion in 1990. In 1990. Medicare cost over $100 billion--ten times the projection! Do you honestly believe Eaves' plan won't raise medical costs? If you believe that, I strongly suggest you look at other plans in other states--especially Illinois. In EVERY case, health costs were much larger than originally projected.
Eaves also slammed Barbour for investing in Toyota and not investing in Mississippi companies. First of all, I don't have a problem with Toyota coming to Tupelo any more than Musgrove's bringing Nissan to Canton four years ago. After all, these are Mississippians working in those plants. I do tax returns for some of those employees and they get great benefits and wages. And the money is spent in Mississippi. Secondly, what Mississippi businesses would Eaves have the state "invest" in? What criteria will be used? We had a real turkey with that beef plant. Will we have more turkeys?
While Eaves has never said it, I get the gut feeling Eaves would have no qualms about a 6% personal income tax bracket. That idiot State Rep. John Mayo introduced that in the State House a session or two ago. I am bitterly opposed to raising the personal income tax. I have a gut feeling he'd raise the income tax to pay for his health programs.
There's only one candidate for Governor who can lead Mississippi forward and continue the progress we have made in the last four years--especially after the horrific effects of Hurricane Katrina. And that man is Republican Governor Haley R. Barbour.