Rick Perry's Overly Generous Gift to the Rich
The tax plan Rick Perry released last week is more a caricature than a policy proposal. The Republican presidential hopeful wants a flat tax, the elimination of the Estate Tax, and the elimination of the capital-gains tax. If you’re thinking that sounds like the kind of plan that would benefit the wealthy, you’re right.
Gov. Rick Perry’s proposal for an opt-in flat tax would primarily benefit the wealthiest Americans, according to a new analysis from the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan research organization. Compared with current tax policy, the plan would most likely reduce federal tax revenue by $570 billion, or about 15 percent.
The plan, released last week as part of Mr. Perry’s campaign for the Republican presidential nomination, allows taxpayers to calculate their personal income taxes under the existing tax code, which is progressive. But it also allows taxpayers to instead have their income taxed at a flat 20 percent rate. In this alternative system, long-term capital gains, qualified dividends and Social Security benefits would not be taxed, and only a handful of deductions would be allowed. Once a household chooses the new system, it cannot switch back.
Because no one would be forced to use the alternate system, Mr. Perry has said, no one would have to pay higher taxes (at least initially; presumably if a family’s income changes a few years after entering the plan, it may no longer be advantageous). Even so, the greatest beneficiaries of the flat-tax option — that is, the households that would be most likely to switch to this system — are far and away the highest earners.
McClatchy ran a chart that helps drive the point home nicely: