Rick Perry unveiled a “flat tax” plan Tuesday that would allow taxpayers to choose between their current income tax rate and a flat tax of 20 percent. He also proposed lowering the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, while eliminating corporate loopholes. He would keep popular mortgage and charitable deductions for families making less than $500,000 a year, and would eliminate taxes on Social Security benefits.
What strikes us, however, is how much Perry seems to be taking his talking points on taxes from Herman Cain. Perry’s plan is more nuanced than Cain’s 999 plan, but like Cain, Perry is proposing to dramatically overhaul the current tax code and replace it with something simple - something that voters seem especially hungry to do, as evidenced by Cain’s success.
Here’s what Perry said when introducing his plan in South Carolina (a key, early primary state):
"Central to my plan is giving every American the option of throwing out the three million words of the current tax code, and the costs of complying with that code, in order to pay a 20 percent flat tax on their income.
The size of the current code, which is more than 72,000 pages, is represented by this pallet and its many reams of paper.
The best representation of my plan is this post card, which taxpayers will be able to fill out to file their taxes."
The reason that my plan — the reason that our plan is being attacked so much is because lobbyists, accountants, politicians, they don’t want to throw out the current tax code and put in something that’s simple and fair. They want to continue to be able to manipulate the American people with a 10-million-word mess. Let’s throw out the 10-million-word mess and put in our plan, which will liberate the American workers and liberate American businesses.
In fact, Herman Cain has been talking about “throwing out” the tax code for many months now, and it’s consistently been one of his biggest applause lines. You can watch a video here of Cain on the stump - he gets a huge audience reaction when he talks about chucking the current tax code:
"We don’t need some mild fuel in this engine, we need some bold fuel.
And I call it my 999 plan. Why?
It starts with - watch this, y’all - throw out the current tax code! [THUNDEROUS APPLAUSE, CHEERING] Get rid of it!
Throw it out, because how many years, most of you all your life, have been complaining about the tax code. We know it’s messed up. But nobody has the guts to say we need to throw it out.
Now, once you throw it out, then we pass the 999 legislation….
It’s simpler, it’s fairer. And it saves us $430 billion a year in filing and compliance costs."
- Read the full text of Perry’s remarks here.
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