ABC News' Z. Byron Wolf (@zbyronwolf) reports:
Conservative Colin Hanna was in South Carolina last weekend when Rick Perry made his presidential bid official. And while Hanna said the announcement was “well constructed,” he’s not picking sides just yet.
“I am a great believer in competition,” Hanna, the conservative activist and founder of Let Freedom Ring, told ABC News’ Top Line political program.
“I'm a free market guy, and I think that competition improves the competitors, and there is no competition in politics quite like the national stage of running for president. So I'm very encouraged by the early words of Rick Perry, and the way he has been received, and the way he has resonated, but I'm a believer in competition. I want to see how he does in this tough competitive field.”
Hanna is a high-profile backer of a Balanced Budget Amendment, something he had hoped would be included in the bill Congress passed last month to raise the country’s debt ceiling.
Hanna said he hopes that a balanced budget amendment makes it into the proposal that a Super Committee of 12 lawmakers will hash out over the fall.
“I think the one perhaps most lasting lesson that comes out of the debt ceiling debate is that Congress really is incapable of applying its own discipline, that it needs the external mechanism of a Constitutional Amendment, and I think that the American public has awakened to this, and really put it in the center of the debate, and I think that now is the best time in our lifetimes to actually pass a balanced budget amendment,” said Hanna.
Hanna rejected outright that the Super Committee should include any revenue – tax hikes – in its proposal. Instead, he suggested that Congress should make the tax code simpler, lower general rates, but also remove deductions – loopholes.
“I think that simplification of the tax code, the removal of various loopholes, and using the revenue associated with the removal of the loopholes to reduce the overall tax burden is precisely the economic recipe that's needed right now. We don't need an increase in the tax burden when we're struggling to recover economically. We need a decrease, and I think a flatter, fairer tax, is the way to go.
A flatter tax, however, would probably give people at the high end of the economic spectrum a break on taxes, while requiring the lower end – nearly half of Americans do not pay income tax – to pay more.
“The notion that 47 percent of Americans have no stake in supporting the federal government is something that is fundamentally contrary to I think – the very principles of democracy,” said Hanna.