The Campaign Spot

Narrative: Perry Unveils a New Tax Pla— Hey, Look, a Birther Comment!

The question is, does this news from Rick Perry . . .

[My] plan starts with giving Americans a choice between a new, flat tax rate of 20% or their current income tax rate. The new flat tax preserves mortgage interest, charitable and state and local tax exemptions for families earning less than $500,000 annually, and it increases the standard deduction to $12,500 for individuals and dependents.

. . . make a bigger splash than this news from Rick Perry?

CNBC’s Chief Washington Correspondent John Harwood: In @cnbc intvw, Perry tells me why he kept Obama birther issue alive: “It’s a good issue to keep alive. It’s fun to poke at him.”

There should be a way for a Republican presidential candidate to laugh about the Obama birth-certificate controversy without being attached to the Obama birth-certificate controversy. Something in the vein of, “I have many differences with the president, but one dramatic and significant accomplishment of his first term that we can all applaud is that he has managed to produce a form of ID.”

UPDATE: Perry’s team held a conference call for bloggers laying out the details of Perry’s economic vision.

It is big, and will be difficult to enact: Freeze federal government salaries until the budget is balanced. End all earmarks. Repeal Obamacare and Dodd-Frank. Pass a balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution. Cut $100 billion from non-defense discretionary spending in the first year.

Under Perry’s proposed plan, the federal budget would be balanced . . . by 2020. “We got into this mess over several years. It didn’t happen overnight. It’s going to take several years to get out of it.”

Pay-go for all new federal programs, which means you have to cut as much from existing spending as you create in new spending.

Perry’s team isn’t worried about the number of Americans who pay no federal income tax; they say the best way to resolve this is to get more Americans better-paying jobs.

How to pass it? “Governor Perry will take this plan to the American people every day.”

A questioner raises a good question as to whether having an optional flat tax means the old structure will be kept in place, and whether some companies and individuals will still attempt to lobby to influence the old system and keep their old carve-outs, loopholes, etc. “We think people will really like the 20 percent flat tax . . . We won’t really know until we see real world data and see the adoption rate.”

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