In a campaign email to supporters Tuesday, Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced he would reveal "exciting future plans" next Monday in San Antonio. But if Gov. Perry is planning to pass up a fourth term in order to wage a second campaign for president, he will find he already has plenty of company from inside the Lone Star State. After all, freshman GOP Sen. Ted Cruz, who like Perry is a pro-gun, anti-abortion extremist, has already begun staking out that ground. And as it turns out, Cruz is calling for a flat tax to deliver a staggering windfall for the wealthy, a scheme almost identical to Perry's 2012 proposal.
Last month, Sen. Cruz hit the airwaves to pitch his version of the GOP's toxic brew of IRS animus and irresponsible tax cuts. As Cruz explained to Fox News:
"We ought to abolish the IRS and instead move to a simple flat tax, where the average American can fill out our taxes on a postcard. Put down how much you earn. Put down a deduction for charitable contributions and home mortgage. And put down how much you owe."
During his 2012 Senate run, Cruz summed up his proposal this way to the Dallas Morning News
Cruz proposed moving toward a flat tax system under which everyone pays the same rate. He said that there would still be a large standard deduction for lower-income earners and that he would keep deductions for mortgage interest and charitable donations.
If that sounds familiar, it should. Because during his failed bid for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, a postcard-waving Rick Perry was offering pretty much the same thing
Now, as you'll see below, there are just a few problems with the Perry-Cruz postcard plan.
In October 2011, Perry unveiled his plan at a South Carolina plastics plant postcard in hand, declaring:
"The best representation of my plan is this postcard. This is the size of what we're talking about right here. Taxpayers will be able to fill this out and file their taxes on that."
explained why Perry's new tax return would be so simple:
The code that Perry is proposing would feature a 20% personal income and corporate tax, the elimination of Social Security and capital gains taxes, and the preservation of popular deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving. Under the "cut, balance, and grow" plan, tax loopholes for corporations would be phased out while the standard exemption for those earning $500,000 or less would be increased to $12,500.
For starters, even with the revenue gained by closing many of the loopholes and deductions that cost Uncle Sam over $1 trillion annually, the Treasury would be drained by the tax cut scheme. Just as predictably, the Texas Flat-Tax Two-Step would produce a gigantic payout for the richest Americans. Five days after reporting "GOP presidential candidates' tax plans would benefit the rich
," the McClatchy Papers in the fall of 2011 detailed Rick Perry's pay day for plutocrats
Rick Perry's proposed optional flat tax would be a windfall for wealthier Americans, giving millionaires an average tax cut of $637,418, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Research Center released Monday.
While the tax cuts would be greatest at the top of the income scale, Perry's proposal would give all taxpayers at least some tax cut, according to the analysis. Those making less than $10,000, for example, would get an average tax cut of $28.
If Perry's plan would lead to skyrocketing national debt and widening income inequality, the Cruz gimmick to abolish the IRS altogether would produce a third: Someone
has to collect the money, provide customer service and enforce the law.
As Rick Perry would put it, "Oops."