Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry, desperate to get his flailing campaign back on track, has a new idea. He calls it “Cut, Balance and Grow” (not to be confused with “Cut, Cap, and Balance”), and presents his pitch in a Wall Street Journal op-ed this morning.
While Perry’s plan has some fairly dramatic flaws — it’s a comical right-wing fantasy, built on numbers that don’t add up — I’ll at least give him credit for thinking big. Some candidates would be content unveiling a ridiculous flat-tax proposal, but the Texas governor is pushing a ridiculous flat-tax proposal and a ridiculous plan for partial privatization of Social Security and a ridiculous effort to eliminate the Estate Tax and reducing the capital-gains tax to 0%.
But wait, there’s more. Perry also intends to repeal the entirety of the Affordable Care Act and remove safeguards from the financial industry and amend the U.S. Constitution to require balanced budgets and impose draconian caps on all federal spending.
How would Perry pay for all of these massive tax cuts? He doesn’t say. But don’t worry, the governor believes he can do all of this while also balancing the budget.
Is anyone really supposed to take this nonsense seriously?
I especially enjoyed Kevin Drum’s take.
What can you even say about this? It sounds less like a tax plan than a big ol’ stew pot of right-wing applause lines, all the way up to the inane insistence that eliminating the estate tax has nothing to do with rich people and is only designed to provide “needed certainty to American family farms and small businesses.” Should we laugh or cry? Perry has actually managed to combine two separate conservative memes (the estate tax is all about family farms, uncertainty is hobbling the economy) into one single sentence that makes even less sense than either of them separately. It’s hard not to be impressed.
I’d add, by the way, that the governor chatted with John Harwood about his plan, in an interview that aired this morning on CNBC. When Harwood noted that the plan looks like a massive giveaway to the rich, Perry replied, “I don’t care. I care about them having money to invest.”
In other words, Perry isn’t pretending about his intentions. The goal here is to identify those who already have the most money — and who are already getting richer all the time, consolidating an ever-growing percentage of the nation’s wealth — and shower these fortunate few with even more expansive tax breaks so they’ll have even more riches. Perry will try to pay for some of this by, of course, gutting measures that benefit working families.
This isn’t a tax policy. It’s a bad comedy.