'Suddenly, liberal Democrats are making the same argument about the tax code that I've been making for 20 years," laughs former Republican House Majority Leader Dick Armey. "Welcome to the party." Mr. Armey, who along with Steve Forbes has been the torch bearer for the flat tax since the early 1990s, believes that the latest applause line from President Obama that "billionaires should pay the same tax rate as janitors" may be the political gateway to sweeping tax reform.
Mr. Moore outlines the essentials of a flat tax. A single rate. A carve out for the first $30,000-$40,000 of family income. And few if any deductions, limiting how low you can go on what you owe.
That's why the flat tax is the fairest tax of all. The combination of a single tax rate with a family-size allowance—shielding, say, the first $35,000 of income for a family of four—ensures that everyone would pay the same marginal tax rate above that level. A family of four with an income of $70,000 would pay an average tax rate of about 8.5%, whereas the members of the Buffett billionaire club would pay 17%...
"I keep waiting for a Republican candidate to take the plunge," says a half-frustrated Steve Forbes. Then he adds one more flat tax selling point: "You know it ends all this crony capitalism in Washington. From now on, if Obama invites you to the White House, you'd know it's because he really loves you."
Republican candidates are shy to "take the plunge" because they can see the false demagoguery of "tax cuts for the rich" a mile away, and they don't want to walk down that road. But at least if one does they can use Mr. Obama's own words to sell the idea, on the principle that "billionaires should pay the same tax rate as janitors."