The latest 2012 GOP presidential frontrunner, Newt Gingrich, has, like Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) before him, released a plan to overhaul the U.S. tax code by giving taxpayers the option of paying a single, flat, income tax rate, as opposed to using today’s progressive tax code. In fact, Gingrich goes a bit further than Perry, setting his flat rate at 15 percent, as opposed to Perry’s 20 percent.
Gingrich claims that his plan will “allow Americans the freedom to choose to file their taxes on a postcard, saving hundreds of billions in unnecessary costs each year.” However, according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center, the plan will also achieve another of Gingrich’s ends — giving millionaires a tax cut of more than $600,000 per year:
Gingrich’s plan would create an optional 15 percent flat tax with a per-person deduction of $12,000. He would drop the corporate tax rate to 12.5 percent from 35 percent, allow businesses to write off capital expenses and eliminate taxes on capital gains and estates, according to his website.
People earning more than $1 million a year would receive an average tax cut of $613,689 in 2015, compared with what they pay now. That change would boost their after-tax income by 28.7 percent and put their average tax rate at 11.9 percent.
Under the plan, half of the entire benefit goes to the richest 1 percent of taxpayers. The richest 0.1 percent of the country will receive a tax cut worth nearly $2 million each and every year. These tax cuts are in addition to what the wealthy are already receiving from their disproportionate share of the Bush tax cuts.
The end result of the plan would be millionaires paying a lower tax rate than middle-class families, as a millionaire would pay an 11.9 percent rate, while a family making $40,000-$50,000 would pay 12.7 percent.
Gingrich has already criticized his top competitor, Mitt Romney, for not lavishing enough tax breaks onto the wealthy. And it would seem that Gingrich’s critique is extremely genuine, as his own tax plan hands out tons of breaks to the very wealthy, in the misguided hope that prosperity will then trickle down to everybody else.