Richard Ellis / Getty Images
Republican presidential candidate Gov. Rick Perry outlines his flat tax plan at the ISO Poly Films factory on Oct. 25, 2011 in Gray Court, S.C.
GRAY COURT, S.C. -- It fits, he says, on a postcard.
Against the backdrop of a plastics factory, Gov. Rick Perry held up a postcard-size form to illustrate the simplicity of his new flat-tax based economic plan.
The code that Perry is proposing would feature a 20% personal income and corporate tax, the elimination of Social Security and capital gains taxes, and the preservation of popular deductions for mortgage interest and charitable giving. Under the "cut, balance, and grow" plan, tax loopholes for corporations would be phased out while the standard exemption for those earning $500,000 or less would be increased to $12,500.
His economic team believes that those changes, combined with deep spending cuts and entitlement reforms including a gradual increase in the retirement age, will encourage so much growth and save families and corporations so much in compliance costs that the budget could be balanced by 2020.
Perry contrasted the single postcard with a dishwasher-sized stack of paper boxes that he said represents the current maze of regulations. (Under Perry's plan, Americans would still have the option to use the existing tax code over the flat tax.)
Without naming rival Mitt Romney, Perry derided his chief competitor's approach to tax reform, calling it merely a rehash of past proposals.
"Others simply offer microwaved plans with warmed-over reforms based on current ingredients," he said. "Americans, however, aren't aren't searching for a reshuffling of the status quo, which simply empowers the entrenched interests. This is a change election, and I offer a plan that changes the way Washington does business."
Perry, who yesterday charged in an interview with CNBC that the president's team does not grasp basic economics, said that his reforms are both bold and realistic.
"We need tax policy that embraces the world as it is, and not what liberal ideologues wish it to be," he said.
Perry is scheduled to travel to Columbia, S.C., later Tuesday to meet with influential South Carolina potential endorsers Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. Jim DeMint. He will also hold a press conference to announce the endorsement of State House Speaker Bobby Harrell.