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Taxes and Immigration in GOP Primary Race

Published on 12/09/2011 -

While no candidate has yet established himself as a solid frontrunner for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, the major issues of the campaign are already evident.

 

So far, tax reform and immigration laws have proven prominent in the hearts and minds of Republican voters—and the candidates catering to them.

 

Here’s a look at the latest on these two issues from the field.

 

Flat Tax Proposals

 

To date, two primary candidates have proposed flat tax rates in hopes of getting ahead.

 

Most recently, Rick Perry introduced a plan that would let Americans choose between their current income tax rate and a 20 percent flat tax.

 

Dubbing his plan “Cut, Balance, and Grow,” Perry insisted that the measure would simplify the tax code and improve the economy.

 

Specifically, he mentioned conditions that would entice foreign-based U.S. companies to return their business the States with a one-time tax deduction. The measure, he insists, would bring $1 trillion in capital back to the country and create 2.9 million jobs.

 

But critics have been quick to point out the plan’s flaws. Prominent among the criticisms is that Perry’s plan, which cuts taxes on wealth and investment income, would reduce the tax burden of the very rich while forcing lower-income Americans to pay more.

 

Another criticism is that a flat tax wouldn’t actually simplify the tax code if taxpayers continued to take deductions.

 

Whether feasible or not, Perry’s proposal seems to be a direct response to Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan, which calls for a nine percent flat tax on individual and corporate income plus a nine percent national sales tax.

 

The catchy plan has propelled Cain to the front of the pack at present; Perry is apparently trying to earn a similar boost.

 

Immigration Issues

 

So far, Republican candidates have spent most of their energy on immigration issues accusing each other of being too kind to illegal immigrants.

 

Perry’s critics blasted him for providing in-state tuition at Texas schools to people in the country illegally.

 

And now Romney’s opponents have latched on to a provision of the health care law he passed in Massachusetts that provided a “safety net” of healthcare for illegal residents.

 

Observers of the race, though, are doubtful whether the newest revelation about Romney’s past will hurt him much. Republicans have already shown such dismay at what they’ve dubbed “Romneycare,” it seems, that a new reason to hate it isn’t likely to sway many people’s opinions.

 

Less prominent in this season’s debates have been concrete plans for handling immigration issues moving forward, though the issue is likely to play a significant role in the 2012 election.

 

After promising immigration reform in his 2008 campaign, many believe President Obama has done little to follow through, prompting some election analysts to suggest that he might lose supporters to whom such issues are important.

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