Perry’s New Gambit

October 21st, 2011 at 12:00 am | 40 Comments |

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Perry’s chances of winning the Republican nomination depend entirely on his ability to sell himself as a Teastablishment candidate. Perry has a ten-year record in Texas that shows an interest in governance, prescription and he has way with sharp rhetoric (“treason”) that sends thrills up the leg of your average Tea Partier.

He’s a base-hugging right-winger that the GOP Brooks Brothers set can feel more comfortable supporting than, say, Michele “Libya Not In Africa” Bachmann or the gay-bashing, protectionist-sympathizer Rick Santorum.

After a series of increasingly bad debates, Perry’s “Tea” half of the portmanteau fled to Herman Cain, whose plain-spoken style and business acumen seemed like a good substitute for Perry’s barbs and Texas job stats. Cain’s promise of throwing out the tax code and replacing it with three 9 percent taxes on income and consumption is exactly the sort of pitchfork wielding plan that appeals to Tea Partiers.

Unfortunately, Cain’s plan is also one of the worst ideas ever pitched in a campaign. The Tax Policy Center estimates that it will raise taxes on more than 80 percent of Americans. You can probably guess the income brackets of those 80 percent. In fact, those making between $10,000 and $20,000 would see their taxes hiked by 950 percent. So now, Cain supporters are checking out who else is still at the bar (you may have noticed the increasing drumbeat of “Newt Gingrich ain’t dead” stories).

This week, Perry turned in a not-awful debate performance and seems to have stopped his free-fall. Now he’s making a naked appeal for Cain’s 9-9-9 base by proposing a flat tax that will likely come with a healthy standard deduction to shield the poor and middle class from being destroyed. Perry’s pitch in the next debate: “Herman, brother, the answer to 9-9-9 is 17 and zero. 17 percent on everything over $36,000. Zero on everything below. You say three numbers is simple, well, I have two.”

The Rick Perry comeback begins today.

Recent Posts by Zac Morgan

40 Comments so far ↓

  • sparse

    i would throw my hat in with the gingrich ain’t dead set. a recent poll ( did a word association related to each candidate. romney’s number one word was “mormon” but perry’s number one word was “texas,” followed by “no” and “idiot”. i think the republican base cannot overlook mormonism. nor can they repeatedly overlook idiocy and texasness. eventually they will have to reconsider overlooking gingrich’s faults. whatever else, at least he is not a mormon, and he passes for not being an idiot.

    did you see the latest from cain– the 999 plan now includes special “opportunity zones” to compensate for the regressivity of the original plan. these zones will be freed from the minimum wage, unions and local zoning laws. fascinating. even fox news thought it too much.

    • NRA Liberal

      I once wrote a dystopian sci-fi novella depicting a future USA in which large chunks of the former Confederacy and the Texas-Mexico border had been transformed into so called “Free Enterprise Zones” under martial law with no taxes or regulations. Seems that reality is catching up with me a little too fast.

    • dante

      I’m also in the “Gingrich isn’t dead” belief. I mean, there are two candidates running for the GOP nomination right now: Romney and Not-Romney. Romney’s held a sold 22-25%, and Not-Romney has held a 30-35% lead for quite some time. It doesn’t matter *who* “Not-Romney” is specifically, but rather the idea that someone other than the (supposedly) faux-conservative ex-governor from MA gets the nomination. Sure, the candidate’s name will change as each moron rises up and flares out again (Trump, Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Cain, etc) relatively quickly, but at the end of the day Romney has ~25% and the “oh dear god someone other than Romney” has ~35%.

      We’re coming to the conclusion that the GOP is going to have to settle, and guess what, it’s not “settling” for Romney but settling for Gingrich instead. He’s running (that eliminates a whole host of other candidates who aren’t like Trump, T-Paw, Jindal, etc), he’s reliable, he has a history that can be reminisced fondly over (balanced budgets, welfare reform, 10pt plan, etc), he was in power during a period of economic growth and expansion in the US, and most of all he hasn’t had the same scrutiny that current front-running candidates have had. He’s the John Kerry of 2012. Liberals *wanted* Dean, but the rank and file decided that he was too radical, too much of a change and went with quite possibly the most milquetoast candidate combined with a DINO as a VP and lost what should have been a relatively easy race.

      • JohnMcC

        Of course there is that whole business of November ’98 when essentially the entire Repub caucus in the House essentially threw Gingrich out in disgust. He said he was resigning ‘to purge the poisons from the system’. But that was so long ago. And conservatives have no history only ideology. Makes life so simple.

    • Rules of engagement

      So the Republican base would prefer a sexual mongrel to a Mormon. Interesting.

  • Clayman

    Art Laffer endorses Herman Cain’s 999 plan

    Posted by The Right Scoop on Oct 13, 2011 in Politics |

    Art Laffer, a former member of Reagan’s Economic Policy Advisory Board and the man who created the Laffer Curve, has now come out and endorsed Herman Cain’s 999 plan, saying that it will undoubtedly be a huge boon to economic growth. This is very good news for Herman Cain:

    • valkayec

      And everyone laughed.

      Cain went to Laffer with his plan before he announced it publicly so e already knew what Laffer thought. FYI, the accountant who designed the 9-9-9 plan worked for AFP.

    • forgetn

      of course every economist in the world knows that the laffer curve doesn’t actually exists! Its just like trickle down theory – also a myth. Got to give it to the guy, he invents a theory that (the Laffer curve) doesn’t exist in the real world, now he supports num-nuts 999 non-plan – perfecto!

  • valkayec

    I’ve not read Perry’s version of a flat tax yet, but if it’s similar to previous incarnations, it’ll go over like a lead balloon amongst the “we’re taxed too much” crowd. It’s a shame I can’t post pdfs to this site ’cause I’d like to post Bartlett’s scathing analysis of the flat tax plan. Nevertheless, a flat tax is highly regressive and raises taxes on most people while lowing them on the wealthiest. There are much better ideas out there.

    Oh, and I’m quite sure CEOs and Wall St would love Perry. He seems to have quite a reputation for handing out all kinds of favors to the top of the income scale – of course, in return for getting something for himself and his close friends.

  • Graychin

    Do any of these guys know that they have to run in a general election after they win the nomination? I don’t think that promising to raise taxes on 80% of voters to give cuts to the richest 20% is a winning strategy.

    And further enriching the rich is what Flat Tax schemes are all about. Always.

    Have they noticed the attention that the Occupy movement is drawing? They will be swimming upstream next year with these radical tax schemes. They may even alienate some of their Tea Party drones when the drones find out that THEIR taxes are going up.

  • jakester

    the 999 plan is the mark of the beast inverse

  • medinnus

    Beast inverse – 666 (999 flipped upside down)

  • Fart Carbuncle

    ^^But atheists don’t believe in that, right?

    • Graychin

      Of course atheists don’t believe that stuff.

      But the people who vote in Republican Primaries do.

      • Rules of engagement

        They are the sum of the parts of the Beast.

        It’s only their humility that prevents them from bragging about it.

    • medinnus

      Never claimed to be an athiest – philosophically Buddhist, metaphysically Agnostic.

      One of the things I’ve never liked is using the absence of proof to come to a conclusion; just because there is no rational proof of the metaphysical is not proof that it doesn’t exist, IMO – just that we can’t quantify it.

      I’m happy to condemn religions based on the lunacy of their doctrine and/or their track record of behavior, which is pretty damning to the vast majority of the various Christian death cults.

      • Bagok

        I understand your point Medinnus, but holding suspension of belief of un-provable concepts sounds like an impossible task. Do you believe Santa Claus, the toothfairy and unicorns might actually exist? How about Zeus or Xenu? Personally, I have found people are agnostic toward the faith they were raised with. Equally un-provable beliefs are treated with, well, atheism. I mean really, there are no unicorns, right? I admire people who can hold a sort of epistemological nihilism about their beliefs. It takes a more open and malleable mind than I posses. But it seems like a difficult way to model the world, never knowing with certainty what is or is not Truth? I’m way too lazy for that!

        Call atheism a belief system, I don’t care. It’s a “belief” I apply equally to all sorts of unknowable things and so remains internally consistent and logical. And it’s easy, no doubts at all.

  • NRA Liberal

    The “Perry in free fall” meme was obviously going to be short lived. He’s the only viable competitor to Romney, and if I had to bet on a GOP nominee, it would be him.

    • balconesfault

      I’ve been there all along.

      Perry’s experience here in Texas shows he can win when campaigns get dirty and nobody’s bothering to talk about the issues … and he can survive a very crowded campaign with a lot of different people pulling votes.

      For the most part, to date, Romney’s political experience shows that he can lose elections.

  • andydp

    I’m glad this came up. I have a question which no one seems to have posited:

    Lets say the 999 is passed, what will the states, counties and cities do to raise revenue ?

    I’m not an expert, but if a 9% “National Sales Tax” is passed, how will the states get their revenue ? I can only envision added sales tax. In New York, the STATE sales tax is 4%, the countries and cities add their own tax. Where I live the total sales tax is 7%. Based on Mr Cain’s plan I can see sales taxes at 16%. (I believe NY City sales tax is somewhere around 10%) This means EVERYTHING will get an immediate 9% cost hike. (Sure to draw praise and approval from the Tea Party types.)

    I’m thinking the same applies to income and corporate taxes. The states and lower govermental entities will simply add their cut to the 9%. With no deductions and exemptions this will only mean a big raise in taxes.

    Gov Perry’s “Flat Tax” gives me the same scenario. States will add their take on top of the National Tax making our tax burden a heck of a lot higher.

    If anyone has a different take on this please add your comments or point me to a cogent, well reasoned study.

    • Sinan

      Absolutely. All the federal subsidies states get today would go away. Then state by state each would have to pay for their own budgets or do without. If you look at the poverty statistics recently announced by the Census Bureau you will see that the states with the highest poverty rates are red. The entire South is one poverty laced region. Can you imagine what would happen if the federal government just walked away from those states? Of course you can, just go back to 1900.

      • Churl

        “Then state by state each would have to pay for their own budgets or do without.”

        The horror. Having to pay for your own budget or do without. That’s un-American, isn’t it?

      • Houndentenor

        At some point Democrats are going to figure out that they are paying for the welfare in states that claim they don’t want it. So be it. The only blue state that gets more back from the fed than it pays in is Vermont. It’s a tiny state and New Yorkers and Californians could chip in a little money to help them out for a lot less than it’s current paying subsidize Mississippi, Alabama and similar places who say they want less government. Give the people what they want. Texas is the only red state that pays in more than it gets back. Give people what they want and let them see what that’s actually like.

  • rbottoms

    Ah, the Wookie Defense.

  • PracticalGirl

    “The Rick Perry comeback starts today.”

    Meanwhile, here’s another number Rick has to contend with: Texas’ unemployment rate reached 8.5 percent in August (and rose a bit more in September), its highest rate since June of 1987 and as the national unemployment rate remained unchanged.

  • Rick123

    A 17 % flat tax is an interesting idea, but leaves many questions. Does investment income count as regular income (taxed at 17%)? Does the inheritance tax go to 17%? Do corporations get to write off business expenses, or are they taxed at 17%? Does this mean no mortgage deduction?

    Perry is going to find that if the answer to any of these questions is yes, he is going to get hell from the anti-tax crowd (Grover and co) as well as small business owners who often reinvest in their companies to avoid taxes. If the answer is no, then we can’t really consider it a flat tax at all.

  • dante

    I guess he’s seeing how well Cain’s proposed Poor to Rich wealth transfer conversation is going and thought to himself “gee, I want a piece of that pie”?

  • Frumplestiltskin

    I hope it is Perry, Americans deserve a clear choice instead of Obamaney vs. Rombama (I think Obama is governing similar to the way that GWHB governed albeit a little to the left on social issues).
    I have no problem with a flat tax if the deductible is high enough (first 30,000 in income or so) but would like it be flat for all income, capital gains included.

    Nice piece by Zac, I have to say one thing in defense of Michelle Bachmann and the Libya angle, Libya is generally considered to be part (politically, culturally, religiously) of the Middle East and not Africa, which we generally view as subsaharan Africa, so while I laughed out loud at what she said I am not absolutely positive that she is this stupid, but I could be wrong

  • jdd_stl1

    Seems like we need to ask some basic question about how we want
    our tax policy to work before we sign on for a plan or gimmick.
    Here is a start on a list of basic questions:

    1. Do we agree that the income tax code should be progressive? Should higher
    income earners pay a higher percentage in taxes than lower income earners?

    2. Do we agree that it is ok for some percentage of low income earners to owe
    no federal income taxes?

    3. Do we agree that we should stop “spending” through the tax code? That is,
    should we remove tax incentives, tax credits, tax deductions, etc? Or should
    we allow some deductions (charities, mortgages, …)

    4. How should corporate taxes be handled?

    5. How should small business taxes be handled? That is, small business owners
    who file their business income as personal income, should they be treated
    different than corporations?

    6. Can we agree to throw out any pledges signed about taxes when we redesign
    the tax policy? Otherwise it seems like it will be impossible to completely redesign
    the system if we are always concerned with making sure that no individual’s taxes
    will go up.

    That is my start. We have a lot of smart people here from a wide spectrum
    of political and economic viewpoints.
    Can we come to a consensus on what the policies should be?

    • Rick123

      This is why I think Perry’s plan is a gimmick. He took the appealing (on the face of it) aspects of Cain’s 999 (the flat individual and corporate rates) and got rid of the national sales tax (which got hammered for being regressive).

      But that still doesn’t make it a good plan. Because with everything, it’s only a lavish government waste if you are not eligible for it. As soon as it’s your deduction or your loophole that is on the chopping block, it becomes a vital program.

    • Houndentenor

      I have a simple request. Anyone proposing a tax change should put up a website on which citizens can input their numbers and get a rough estimate of what their taxes would be under the new plan vs. the old one. A lot of ideas sound like a good idea until one does the math. Would I owe more or less under Perry’s plan? Cain’s? We should all be able to get that information. There’s probably an intern sitting there who could write the program. That is, of course, if there’s enough detail to the plan to make real calculations and if not, it’s silly to bother discussing the plan.

  • Houndentenor

    I’m single. I have no children. I rent my home. I’ll probably be better off paying 17% of my income over 36k. Most middle class people will not. That’s always been the flaw in the flat tax. Those dependent children and home mortgage deductions benefit the middle class greatly and without them they get a huge tax hike. Good luck getting that passed once (or I guess I should say IF) voters actually do the math.

  • Southern Populist

    If the net effect of any tax reform, including a flat tax, is not lower taxes for 1) small business owners and 2) middle income earners who derive most of their income from W2 wages, then the reform is not worth discussing IMO.

    - DSP

  • Rob_654

    Enough with the Flat Taxes already – while it makes for great political talking points – it just will never happen.

    There is far too much skin in the game for the current ability for politicians to provide nice tax giveaways under the current system in return for favors and money, there is an entire industry (with lobbyists) built around our current tax system and anyone who bring out a Flat Tax Plan should be immediately dismissed since their plan will never have a chance of being put into action and they are simply wasting everyone’s time because in the end the current jacked up tax code will remain in place.

  • nvrbl

    What is hilarious is that Gingrich doesn’t want to be President. He is just trying to sell books and run up his fees for speaking engagements. He is a professional candidate.

    • Clayman

      ^+1 nvrbl

      He and Callista are smart cookies. They will have a lot left over after paying off their fancy jewellry debt and campaign debts. The real question is when will they split.

      • Houndentenor

        One assumes that it will last until she finds him cheating on her like he did his first two wives.