The Perry campaign is now recognizing that it cannot completely eliminate the income tax “overnight,” but it remains an open question how aggressively Perry would pursue this goal if given the opportunity to do so. In an interview with Jon Stewart last November, Perry strongly hinted that it would be a top priority. When asked to identify the exact moment when America got on the wrong track, Perry flagged the income tax as America’s original sin:
STEWART: In your mind, when did Washington go off the rails?
PERRY: Oh, about a century ago, actually, when you look at the…
PERRY: Yeah, ah, Wilson, and the progressive movement started—the Sixteenth Amendment, if you want to know when Washington really got off the track, the Sixteenth Amendment giving them to opportunity to take your money with the personal income tax.
No one likes paying taxes, but the truth is that the federal government’s power to tax incomes is the reason why America can have essential programs such as Medicare and Social Security. Perry, of course, thinks that those programs are unconstitutional as well.