Mitt Romney and the Flat Tax

Steve Forbes, famed supply-side guru, has announced his support for both Rick Perry’s presidential bid and his forth coming plan for a flat tax. Says Forbes of the Texas governor’s plan:

Perry’s plan places him at the far edge of mainstream politics, but squarely within the consensus of the Republican Party, which has made a sharp turn to the right on issues of taxation. In addition, it places him in a favorable position vis a vis former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, who – as The New York Times reports – has a “long record of criticizing such plans and famously derided Steve Forbes’s 1996 proposal as a ‘tax cut for fat cats.’

Of course, with prominent Republicans pushing for a flat tax, it’s likely that Romney will relent and release his own proposal for instituting a single income tax rate. As The Times writes, “Lately…his tone has been more positive. ‘I love a flat tax,’ he said in August.”

There are two takeaways here. First is the fact that, as a politician, Mitt Romney has little in the way of core convictions, and will contort himself in any direction as long as it brings political gain. But we know that. More important is what this episode tell us about the conduct of a President Romney. In all likelihood, Romney will spend his presidency working to earn the trust of right-wing Republicans, and further repudiate his history of ideological heterodoxy. If elected president, we shouldn’t expect an ounce of moderation from the former Massachusetts governor.

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