With Rick Perry’s call for a 20% Flat Tax, the movement for fundamental, pro-growth tax reform became unstoppable. Perry, Herman Cain, and Mitt Romney are now the only viable candidates for the Republican presidential nomination remaining. With both Cain and Perry now offering dramatic pro-growth tax reform proposals, Romney will either jump on the tax reform bandwagon or be left in the dust (or possibly both).
The only pro-growth tax cuts in Romney’s 59-point economic plan are a reduction in the corporate income tax rate to 25% (from 35% today) and the elimination of the death tax. However, both Perry and Cain are similarly calling for repeal of the death tax. Also, Perry’s plan would cut the corporate income tax rate to 20%, and Cain’s plan would reduce it to the equivalent of 9%.
Once the electorate concludes that drastic change is needed, they will elect someone promising drastic change. In terms of tax policy, right now, only Perry and Cain are advocating drastic change. Romney is currently offering an economic program that involves minor tinkering at the margins of the tax code. Meanwhile, Obama is promising to fight for tax increases that would make the economy worse.
Under current circumstances, it will do Progressives no good to point out flaws in Cain’s 9-9-9 program, or in Perry’s Flat Tax plan. The voters know that major tax reform would have to be enacted by Congress, and that the problems and inequities of any outline would be ironed out during the legislative process. They also realize that by the time that the crucial details of fundamental tax reform would be decided, a new president would have had another 15 months to refine his proposal.