Please, please, please let this be the ticket to my
salvation next election (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)
So Rick Perry is unveiling the platform that he hopes will push aside Herman Cain as the leading alternative to Mitt Romney ... and a proposed flat tax might be the least nutty idea in the plan. He outlined it
in the Wall Street Journal
, and here are some of its key elements:
- An optional flat tax of 20 percent. (This would be a tax cut for anyone with more than about $70,000 in ordinary income.)
- Reducing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent. (This fails to address the key problem with corporate the corporate tax code which is that loopholes mean different companies pay different effective tax rates thanks to their lobbying prowess.)
- Completely eliminate taxes on long-term capital gains. (This is nothing more than a giveaway to wealthy investors and reduces their incentive to innovate and find productive investments.)
- Cap federal spending at 18 percent of GDP. The last time federal spending was below 18 percent of GDP, the year was 1966. Under Reagan, it never fell below 21.3 percent.
- Allow younger workers to opt-out of Social Security. (Virtually guaranteeing the system's swift collapse by starving it of revenue.)
This is a cornucopia of crazy, but, unlike Herman Cain, Perry wasn't bright enough to get his flat tax into single digits. (There's a reason marketers price products at $9.99 instead of $10, Rick.)
And if you think through the implications of his other proposals (for example, the fact that starving the Social Security system of payroll contributions from current workers would force massive cuts and the eventual elimination of the program), the plan would destroy America as we know it. Given that Perry hasn't been shy about his disdain for the New Deal, that's probably the point. And if enough Republicans agree with him (I've got my fingers crossed), we'll see the Republican Party relive the glory days of Barry M. Goldwater.