Rick Perry apparently is hoping to revive his failing campaign with the old flat tax bait and switch:
Mr. Perry did not offer details of how his plan would work. He said he wanted to scrap “the three million words of the current tax code and start with something simple: a flat tax.”
“I want to make the tax code so simple that even Timothy Geithner can file his taxes on time,” the governor said.
Our tax code differs from what Perry is proposing in two ways. One is that the definition of taxable income is complicated because you can deduct home mortgage interest, non-reimbursed business expenses, a whole suite of small-bore tax credits, charitable contributions, and various other things. A second is that we have multiple tax brackets, such that a rich guy pays a higher marginal rate than a poor person. It’s changing the first that makes a tax code simpler. There’s nothing complicated about calculating how much you owe in taxes once you’ve calculated your taxable income. The second change just helps rich people pay less taxes.