Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 10/25/2011

Rick Perry’s flat tax: Five questions

Rick Perry is taking the Herman Cain route with the flat tax announcement he is set to make Tuesday in South Carolina, betting that the simplicity that helped Cain shoot to the top of the polls can do the same for him.

What questions will Perry have to answer today in his speech and over and over as he hits the hustings to talk up his plan? Here are five:
Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (Nati Harnik - AP)

1. Will the poor pay more? Perry’s plan, which keeps the national flat tax at 20 percent, comes with an opt-out provision, which means if you like your current tax rate, you can keep it. And deductions for mortgages and charitable contributions, etc, remain, possibly blunting the usual criticism that flat tax plans get.

2. Can he keep it simple? Cain’s plan caught on because it had the catchy 9-9-9 slogan. Then Cain went all apples and oranges and muddied up the simplicity of his plan. Perry doesn’t have a slogan so far and having to figure out whether to opt in or opt out offers its own complications.

3. Will it be revenue neutral? Lower taxes for the rich spur growth, creativity and job creation, or so the argument goes. But under Cain’s plan, for instance, government coffers would be in the red by $300 billion less according to the Tax Policy Center analysis.

4. Will the tea party like it? Dick Armey, the tea party king, is a big fan of the flat tax and says the flat tax system would be so simple that people could do their taxes on an index card. Yet, to quote Michele Bachmann, the devil has been in the details, and flat tax rates, once examined, have often ended up looking like a tax hike.

5. What will Mitt say? Romney has largely been opposed to the flat tax, saying at one point that it was a “tax cut for fat cats.” But now that the plans are all the rage, the former Massachusetts governor has a tightrope to walk on the issue. This could be his chance to frame the flat tax as a middle class issue.

WHERE TO FIND THE CANDIDATES:

Jon Huntsman speaks to College Republicans and young supporters at George Washington University at 7:30 p.m.

Rick Perry, as discussed above, will hold a news conference in Columbia, S.C., at 3:30 p.m. after he delivers a major economic speech and unveils his flat tax plan.

Rick Santorum also will stump in the Palmetto state, first in Spartanburg at a noon fundraiser. He then heads to Greenville to speak at the First Monday Club.

Newt Gingrich will file his paperwork to get on the New Hampshire primary ballot at 3:30 p.m.

Mitt Romney appears in Ohio with Republican Party Chairman Kevin DeWine at 10 a.m. He will voice support for a ballot measure that would block the implementation of the individual mandate for health care in the crucial swing state.

WORTH READING:

Michelle Obama heads back to Chicago, talks healthy eating

Confederate flag flap in Texas.

Herman Cain’s black rhetorical comic style

Rick Perry’s early days on the stump

Bill Clinton, Mitt Romney’s role model.

WORTH VIEWING:Newt Gingrich’s advice to the GOP

By  |  06:00 AM ET, 10/25/2011

 
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