The Washington Post

Presidential candidate Perry proposes a flat tax

Texas Gov. Rick Perry is making a bold grab for the conservative heart of the GOP with his decision to propose a flat tax as a core component of his economic recovery plan.

A flat tax has been an elusive dream of conservative Republicans for decades, occasionally springing up on the fringes of presidential campaigns, most recently in Steve Forbes’s White House runs in 1996 and 2000.

Perry may be the most viable presidential candidate to advocate the idea. His proposal comes on the heels of a warm early reception for Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” plan, a flat-tax proposal that has made Cain a favorite among some conservative voters.

In a speech to the Western Republican Leadership Conference in Las Vegas on Wednesday, Perry previewed the broad outlines of a tax plan that he said he will present in six days. Among its features, he promised, will be spending cuts, entitlement reform and a flat tax.

“I want to make the tax code so simple that even Timothy Geithner can file his taxes on time,” Perry said, a reference to the embarrassment that complicated the Treasury secretary’s confirmation in 2009.

A flat tax is just what it sounds like: one tax rate for all Americans. Right now, income taxes are progressive — the rate increases with each income bracket. Flat-tax advocates tout its simplicity — no complicated forms, few itemized deductions, credits or other loopholes. There would be no estate tax, no capital gains tax, no dividends tax.

Most flat tax plans still have some deductions. For instance, individuals may get a deduction for dependents, and businesses for wages and other costs. After those exceptions, however, everyone would pay the same rate.

Critics attack the flat tax for being regressive, to the benefit of the wealthy. Low flat rates, they add, would not raise sufficient revenue.

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.

The Freddie Gray case

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Campaign 2016 Email Updates

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!

Get Zika news by email

Please provide a valid email address.

You’re all set!
Comments
Show Comments
Republicans debated Saturday night. The South Carolina GOP primary and the Nevada Democratic caucuses are next on Feb. 20. Get caught up on the race.
The Post's Dan Balz says...
Rarely has the division between Trump and party elites been more apparent. Trump trashed one of the most revered families in Republican politics and made a bet that standing his ground is better than backing down. Drawing boos from the audience, Trump did not flinch. But whether he will be punished or rewarded by voters was the unanswerable question.
GOP candidates react to Justice Scalia's death
Quoted
I don't know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn't speak Spanish.
Sen. Marco Rubio, attacking Sen. Ted Cruz in Saturday night's very heated GOP debate in South Carolina. Soon after, Cruz went on a tirade in Spanish.
The Fix asks The State's political reporter where the most important region of the state is.
The State's Andy Shain says he could talk about Charleston, which represents a little bit of everything the state has to offer from evangelicals to libertarians, and where Ted Cruz is raising more money than anywhere else. In a twist, Marco Rubio is drawing strong financial support from more socially conservative Upstate. That said, Donald Trump is bursting all the conventional wisdom in the state. So maybe the better answer to this question is, "Wherever Trump is."
Past South Carolina GOP primary winners
South Carolina polling averages
Donald Trump leads in the first state in the South to vote, where he faces rivals Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio.
South Carolina polling averages
The S.C. Democratic primary is Feb. 27. Clinton has a significant lead in the state, whose primary falls one week after the party's Nevada caucuses.
62% 33%
The complicated upcoming voting schedule
Feb. 20

Democrats caucus in Nevada; Republicans hold a primary in South Carolina.

Feb. 23

Republicans caucus in Nevada.

Feb. 27

Democrats hold a primary in South Carolina.

Upcoming debates
Feb 25: GOP debate

on CNN, in Houston, Texas

March 3: GOP debate

on Fox News, in Detroit, Mich.

March 6: Democratic debate

on CNN, in Flint, Mich.

Campaign 2016
Where the race stands

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.