Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson Sunday touted a flat tax plan that he says even the nation’s poor would pay if he’s elected.
Speaking on "Fox News Sunday," Carson said it’s "very condescending" to think that poor people can’t pay taxes at the same flat rate as wealthier Americans. Carson said he got the idea for his plan – he calls it a proportional tax – from tithing in the Bible.
Using a 10 percent rate as an example, Carson said "You make $10 billion a year, you pay $1 billion. You make $10 a year, you pay one dollar."
"Now, some people say it’s not fair because, you know, the poor people can’t afford to pay that dollar," Carson, a retired neurosurgeon told Fox News’ Chris Wallace. "That’s very condescending. You know, I grew up very poor. I experienced every economic level. And I can tell you poor people have pride, too. And they don’t want to be just taken care of."
Carson disagreed with calculations that Wallace quoted from the Tax Policy Center that indicated a flat tax would have to be in the 20 percent range in order for the federal government to raise as much revenue as it does now.
"Wrong," he said. "I don’t agree with that assessment, let me put it that way, because I’ve been in contact with many economists. And, in fact, if you eliminate loopholes and deductions, then you’re really talking about a rate somewhere between 10 and 15 percent."
Numerous Republican presidential candidates have campaigned on flat tax plans over the years – from magazine publisher Steve Forbes in 1996 to former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in 2012.
Among the 2016 Republican candidates and potential contenders, Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., Rand Paul, R-Ky., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, have espoused shifting to a flat tax system or some variation of it.