You can add Thomas Del Beccaro, a 2016 Republican candidate for Senate in California, to the growing list of Republicans supporting the flat tax, an idea popularized by Steve Forbes in the 1990s.
"Support for a flat tax is on the rise and with good reasons — both economic and political," he writes in an article for Forbes
"From an economic point of view, replacing our current income tax code with a flat tax (a code based on minimal deductions and a single tax rate under 17 percent regardless of income) for individuals and businesses would produce a huge economic boom."
And what about the politics?
"The political or societal case for the flat tax comes down to ending much of that abuse, reducing the power of the IRS and ending the use of government policy to foment class warfare," Del Beccaro explains.
A flat tax could be a source of unity for Americans, he notes. "Before the next politician uses tax policy to tear us apart, let's instead follow the basic wisdom of Americans. The time for the flat tax has come."
But not all conservatives support a flat tax. Reihan Salam, executive editor of National Review
, stands as one powerful opponent.
On the economic side, the flat tax "would be highly regressive, in part because high-income households tend to consume less of their income than lower-income households and because investment income would not be taxed (or rather double-taxed)," he writes.
"If the U.S. were to adopt a flat tax on consumption that would raise as much revenue as the current code, it is hard to see how taxes on low- and middle-income households wouldn't increase."
And what about the politics? A Reason-Rupe poll
last year showed that two-thirds of voters favor higher taxes on upper-income households, Salam says.
"Whatever enthusiasm voters might have for the flat tax in theory might quickly evaporate in a campaign, when opponents of the flat tax will point out that it will greatly reduce the tax burden on (say) people like Mitt Romney," he states.
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