I basically agree with the editors about the tax and spending reforms that Rick Perry proposed today, but I would emphasize the parts of the plan a little differently and so probably come out a bit more supportive of it than they do. Most commentators have focused on the tax reforms Perry proposed, since those are more detailed than the rest, and since Perry highlighted them more in his speech today. But I think the most important thing about this proposal is actually its entitlement reforms—and especially the fact that Perry has endorsed a premium-support reform of Medicare, which is an absolutely essential reform if we are to have any chance of getting our long-term government finances in order.
But let’s begin at the beginning. In general terms, the Perry plan can be divided into three parts: tax reforms, spending reforms, and regulatory reforms. All three lack some specificity, of course, although for a policy proposal in the primary season I would say the plan is on the whole pretty well articulated.
The different parts should be analyzed separately, because they vary a good bit in terms of seriousness. It’s easiest to take the regulatory reforms first, since they’re quite standard conservative proposals on that front. Nothing too creative, but all sensible and good ideas: a moratorium on pending rules, an audit of all Obama regulations, automatic sunsets for all regulations, an annual regulatory budget, and a searchable public database of all regulations (which already exists, by the way).