Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) today became the latest GOP presidential hopeful to release a tax plan, as he tries to catch up in the polls, some of which even have him trailing former Speaker Newt Gingrich and libertarian favorite Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). The plan, as Perry has been explaining, revolves around a 20 percent flat tax.
Perry’s flat tax was designed with the help of billionaire media mogul Steve Forbes, who ran twice for president, unsuccessfully, on a flat tax plan. As we noted yesterday, Forbes’ plan would have provided a $1.9 billion tax cut for…Steve Forbes.
Perry’s plan is slightly different that Forbes’ flat tax of a decade ago, as it has a higher rate and preserves some popular deductions. But, like with all flat tax plans, Perry’s plan would give the rich a huge tax cut, since it drops their rate from 35 percent to 20 percent and exempts their investment income from taxation at all. When CNBC’s John Harwood asked Perry today why — in an era of massive income inequality — the rich should be given a tax break worth “hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of dollars,” Perry replied, “but I don’t care about that”:
HARWOOD: Dividends, capital gains, interest income taxes would provide a huge tax cut for wealthy people in this country. Given what’s happened with income inequality, why is that a good idea?
PERRY: We’re trying to get this country working again. And that’s what I focus on. As a matter of fact, as we looked and as we talked and as we went through what are the ways to really get incentives to those who are going to risk their capital to create the jobs. [...] Those that want to get into the class warfare and talk about ‘oh my goodness,’ there are going to be some folks here who make more money out of this or have access to more money, I’ll let them do that. I’m worried about that man or woman sitting around the coffee table tonight or in their kitchen talking about how are we going to get to work, how are we going to have the dignity to take care of our family. This plan does that. And it also is a tax cut across the board, it doesn’t make any difference what strata you’re in. It gives a tax cut across the board.
HARWOOD: But for those at the top, it is hundreds of thousands, maybe even millions of dollars for them.
PERRY: But I don’t care about that. What I care about is them having the dollars to invest in their companies.
Former pizza magnate Herman Cain and former Govs. Mitt Romney (R-MA) and Jon Huntsman (R-UT) have all laid out tax plans that give huge tax breaks to the wealthy, while claiming that they want to help the middle-class. It seems that Perry is now finally hopping on that train.