Is a Flat Tax a Good Idea?
Though by no means a new idea, the flat tax is resurging as a possible alternative to the current tax code as many of the 2012 Republican presidential candidates have included a version in their economic plans. A flat tax is a single rate that spans all income brackets of taxpayers, rather than the current “progressive” system, which taxes higher-income individuals at increased rates and includes numerous deductions and exemptions. Under Herman Cain’s so-called 9-9-9 plan, Americans would pay a flat 9 percent rate on their personal incomes, corporate incomes, and on sales. Meanwhile, Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s so-called Cut, Balance and Grow would give taxpayers the choice to opt out of the current system and pay 20 percent on individual income while allowing for a few of the deductions in the current code. Proponents of the flat tax argue that it would simplify the tax code while broadening the tax base. Opponents say the flat tax would shift much of the revenue burden to middle- and lower-income Americans while lowering taxes on the wealthiest. Here is Debate Club’s take on the flat tax: