Texas Gov. Rick Perry has braced himself for potential criticism of his economic plan’s flat-tax component, sending a message directly to Mitt Romney, who rebuked the flat tax in 1996.
Asked in an interview Monday with John Harwood of CNBC how he would respond to possible criticism from Romney of a 20-percent flat tax, which he plans to introduce today, Perry said, “I’d say he ought to go look in the mirror, I guess. I consider him to be a fat cat.”
During Steve Forbes’ 1996 presidential run, Romney chided the flat tax as one developed for “fat cats.” Forbes helped Perry develop the economic plan that he will unveil in South Carolina this morning.
Perry defended his plan, which creates an optional 20 percent tax and eliminates dividends, capital gains and interest income taxes in the country, saying it should be lauded as a “tax cut across the board,” not one that benefits the wealthiest in this country.
“We’re trying to get this country working again and that’s what I’m focused on,” Perry said. “I want to get that money back out into the economy where people will have the confidence they’ll have a return on their investment and they’ll hire individuals, and that’s what really this is all about .
“Those that want to get into the class warfare , and talk about, ‘Oh, my goodness, there are going to be some folks who make more money or have more access to more money,’ I’ll let them do that. I’m worried about that man or woman sitting around their coffee table at night, or their kitchen, talking about how are we going to get to work, how are we going to have the dignity to take care of our family. This plan does that. It also is a tax cut across the board. It doesn’t make a difference what strata you’re in. It gives a tax cut across the board.”
Perry’s plan proposes a 20 percent corporate tax, cap spending at 18 percent of GDP, change Social Security by raising the retirement age and allowing young individuals to start personal retirement accounts, and change the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
“I’ll take the criticism if that’s what comes,” Perry said. “I’ll take that criticism because what I’m interested again is getting America working.”