Flat tax faces tough opposition

By Stephen Ohlemacher

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 26 2011 11:00 p.m. MDT

Cain's plan would scrap most of the current tax system. He would eliminate the payroll taxes that fund Social Security and Medicare, and replace the progressive federal income tax with a flat 9 percent tax on income. He would lower the corporate income tax from 35 percent to 9 percent, and impose a new 9 percent national sales tax. The tax on capital gains would be eliminated.

The only income tax deductions allowed under Cain's original plan were for charitable contributions. He has since said people living below the poverty line — $22,314 for a family of four — would also be exempt from income tax.

Perry's plan would impose an optional 20 percent flat tax. Families could choose between the current tax structure and a new 20 percent tax on income, presumably picking the one that taxes them the least.

Perry's flat tax would preserve deductions for mortgage interest, charitable donations and state and local taxes. It also includes a $12,500 exemption for individuals and their dependents, meaning a family of four could make $50,000 and pay no federal income tax.

Perry's plan would reduce the corporate income tax from 35 percent to 20 percent and would eliminate the tax on dividends and long-term capital gains.

Romney's tax plan would initially maintain the current tax rates, extending sweeping tax cuts that were enacted under former President George W. Bush and extended through 2012 by Obama. Romney would eliminate taxes on capital gains, dividends and interest for taxpayers with adjusted gross income below $200,000. He would push to lower the corporate income tax from 35 percent to 25 percent.

In the long term, Romney would "pursue a conservative overhaul of the tax system that includes lower and flatter rates on a broader tax base."

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