Monday, October 31, 2011

How crazy is this? (Not so much Rick Perry's notably odd speech...but the massive tax cuts for the "1%" and above?)

Based on his weird presentation here, it's unlikely Rick Perry will become the GOP nominee. He appears to be well-lubricated.

But for what it's worth, the "flat tax" plan Perry whips out of his pocket cuts the taxes of 97% of the infamous economic elite - the "one-percent" - by close to $300,000 on average. Worse, for the top .1% - the super-rich upper tenth of the top one-percent - taxes are cut by over a million and a half dollars per annum.

(Tax Policy Center via Economix)

The "Flat Tax" Fraud

Today's New York Times:
A Bad Movie - "Plan 999 From Outer Space"
According to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll, nearly 70 percent of Americans say that Congressional Republicans’ policies favor the rich and that they oppose lowering taxes for large corporations. Two-thirds polled say that wealth should be distributed more evenly; a similar share wants to increase taxes on millionaires, not cut them. In a previous Times/CBS poll from August, a majority of Americans also wanted to use tax increases to close the deficit, rather than rely only on spending cuts.
Flying in the face of public opinion,  most of the  GOP's Clown Car of Presidential aspirants are currently pushing - in some or another variation  - so-called "flat tax" proposals that cut taxes on the rich and raise taxes on the middle-class and working poor. 

The most notable is Herman Cain's catchy "999" plan, not to be confused with the price of a pizza.  Rick Perry is also floating a flat tax proposal.  Even Mitt Romney - once a critic of flat tax proposals - is backing off and will probably do a double-Mitt 180' turn on the issue, as he's done on every other policy of consequence.  (Apparently for Romney's supporters, his floppiness has become a feature, not a flaw - holding out the hope to any "moderate" Republican voters that he doesn't really believe all of the crazy stuff he's saying to pander to the GOP's increasingly crackpot base.)

As an antidote to this flurry of GOP tax proposals, Robert Reich explains exactly why the Flat Tax falls flat.  And why we  need more progressive rates at the elite levels of upper income, not less:
The details of flat-tax proposals vary, of course. But all of them end up benefiting the rich more than the poor for one simple reason: Today’s tax code is still at least moderately progressive. The rich usually pay a higher percent of their incomes in income taxes than do the poor. A flat tax would eliminate that slight progressivity.