Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) has had his fair share of missteps during the 2012 GOP presidential primary campaign, including his now famous “oops” moment, when he couldn’t recall one of the three federal agencies that he wants to abolish. (It was the Department of Energy.)
Yesterday, Perry added to his list of gaffes, misstating how his tax plan — which would supposedly implement a 20 percent flat personal income tax — treats deductions. Fortunately, he had Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) there to bail him out:
During a question-and-answer session with the audience, Perry was asked if his flat tax plan would include the standard deduction in the current tax system.
After Perry first indicated that it wouldn’t, Jindal reminded him that the plan actually raises the standard deduction to $12,500 per person in a household. “Thank you for correcting me on that,” Perry said to Jindal. “Not that I ever make a mistake.
Removing the standard deduction — which is the set amount that every person gets to claim tax-free on his or her tax return — would make Perry’s wildly regressive tax plan even worse. As it is, the plan already gives millionaires a tax cut of half a million dollars every year, while raising taxes on most of the middle class.
Perry has admitted as much, conceding to the Des Moine Register’s editorial board that under his plan, low-income people get slammed while it would be possible for a millionaire to pay literally nothing. When CNBC’s John Harwood noted that the plan gives millionaires hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax breaks, Perry replied, “I don’t care about that.” And he evidently doesn’t care enough to learn the details of his plan either.