As many fiscal conservatives turn cartwheels over the flat tax proposal Gov. Rick Perry is set to unveil here in the Palmetto State today, the Texas presidential contender is relishing finally being in the headlines for something other than his debate gaffes or unfortunately named family hunting camp.
Republican strategists say his plan is a shrewd political move, one that could draw tax reform enthusiasts away from Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan, and provide a clear and easy-to-understand alternative to Mitt Romney’s 59-point economic plan.
“Team Perry is drawing that bright line distinction not only between himself and Romney, but between himself and Cain,” said Ford O’Connell, a Republican strategist and former campaign adviser to the McCain-Palin ticket. “This is about winning over the anti-Romney voting block, and getting them to come together around one candidate.”
Economists are divided on the equity and effectiveness of the flat tax, which, in its purest form, would replace the current progressive income tax rate with an across-the-board rate.
Regardless of the plan’s long-term political feasibility, O’Connell said it works for Perry right now. It’s simple like Cain’s 9-9-9 but allows for greater depth and detail, which he said “has started to hinder Cain’s bid.” And it’s far easier to grasp than Romney’s 59-point economic plan, which, “no matter how well thought out, doesn’t inspire emotion and energy.”