Steve Forbes is back, but now he has a southern draw.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry unveiled a sweeping economic agenda Monday highlighted by a plan to level a voluntary 20 percent “flat tax” on all taxpayers who will accept it in place of what they’re paying now.
The plan, outlined in a Wall Street Journal op-ed column a day before the Texas governor was set to unveil it in South Carolina, also calls for capping federal spending at 18 percent of the country’s GDP while allowing younger earners to privatize their Social Security accounts. Taxpayers who don’t want to pay a 20 percent flat income tax, he said, can keep their current rate.
Perry offers several proposals that appear designed to sweeten the offer – and to counter criticism that the flat tax is regressive, taking a proportionally bigger bite from smaller incomes. His plan would preserve popular deductions for mortgage interest and donations to charity for households earning less than $500,000 a year. It would increase the standard deduction to $12,500.
Calling his agenda “Cut, Balance and Grow” — a clear nod to congressional Republicans, who have proposed a “Cut, Cap and Balance” budget bill — Perry says his proposal is the best way to cure the nation’s ailing economy.
Rick Perry: My Tax and Spending Reform Plan
On Tuesday I will announce my “Cut, Balance and Grow” plan to scrap the current tax code, lower and simplify tax rates, cut spending and balance the federal budget, reform entitlements, and grow jobs and economic opportunity.
The plan starts with giving Americans a choice between a new, flat tax rate of 20% or their current income tax rate. The new flat tax preserves mortgage interest, charitable and state and local tax exemptions for families earning less than $500,000 annually, and it increases the standard deduction to $12,500 for individuals and dependents.
This simple 20% flat tax will allow Americans to file their taxes on a postcard, saving up to $483 billion in compliance costs. By eliminating the dozens of carve-outs that make the current code so incomprehensible, we will renew incentives for entrepreneurial risk-taking and investment that creates jobs, inspires Americans to work hard and forms the foundation of a strong economy. My plan also abolishes the death tax once and for all, providing needed certainty to American family farms and small businesses.
My plan restores American competitiveness in the global marketplace and provides strong incentives for U.S.-based employers to build new factories and create thousands of jobs here at home.