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25 October 2011

Somebody's Blinded by Something

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Correct me if I'm wrong, but haven't the "flat [income] tax" rate and postcard ideas been done before in presidential primaries? Larry said, Steve Forbes, but I recalled a more "fringe" Democratic candidate whom almost everyone pooh-poohed while he waved a piece of cardstock during debates, saying that's how simple a tax return ought to be -- straightforward enough to put on a postcard. 
MSNBC.com's Tom Curry confirmed both Forbes and Jerry Brown as proponents of the flat tax in 1992 as he wrote, "Perry seeks to cash in on flat tax's enduring appeal."

Republican Rick Perry, current governor of Texas, has not quite thought his proposal through and has preempted any criticism of it by saying, "I know it's going to be attacked." His proposal of a flat 20% income tax for everyone is so half-baked and baselessly unanalysed, he doesn't even know whether it would help or harm anyone. So, he invites people to figure it out themselves (well, if anyone thinks he's going to be paying more under my plan, he can always stick with the code as we know it now and pay those big fees to accountants and tax lawyers).  In my estimation, this sounds like a bright future for accountants and tax lawyers; so if passed, the flat tax plan could be Perry's contribution to getting more jobs on the street.

And the idea of individual investment accounts for Social Security? Apparently, Rick Perry so does not want to be George W Bush that he has to bring up the spectre of them again. Bush quite wisely allowed his business advisers to persuade him to let this very unprofitable idea quietly die. Who in his right mind wants to handle 100 million accounts of $100,000 each as opposed to one or two of $100 trillion (sorry, my arithmetic has always been suspect; do I have my zeros all in place?)?  Perry, not in the room at the time, is probably thinking, what happened to such a great sound bite?  And $100,000 is really pushing it, because each account probably starts with $8 when someone gets a job at a fast food restaurant or at a retail store for the holidays.   Has anyone ever not heard of buying in bulk, safety in numbers, power in organizing, efficiency in the collective?  Americans like to go it alone unless they could get the government to do the hard parts for them, like save for retirement.  The only thing in the private sector even close are (no, not 401(k) accounts which are also in a collective of sorts, but) Christmas Club accounts.  Remember them? Forced savings for a reward at end... money to buy Christmas presents.  Maybe we need to start with reviving that activity first.

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