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Rick Perry's Tax Plan Gets a High-Profile Endorsement from Grover Norquist

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of

Grover Norquist, the man who has managed to get nearly every Republican in Congress to pledge never to raise taxes, praised Rick Perry's flat-tax plan on Tuesday, giving a much-needed boost to the Texas governor's floundering presidential campaign.


Perry's plan would throw out the current tax code and cap individual and corporate tax rates at 20 percent, allowing taxpayers to choose between their current rate and a flat 20 percent rate.

Norquist, the president and founder of Americans for Tax Reform, was especially happy with the equal tax rates for individuals and businesses. "It's very important to keep both rates the same, because a lot of small businesses pay the individual rate," he told CNBC on Tuesday. "Obama keeps trying to separate them. They really belong at the same place.

In fact, Norquist said there was nothing about Perry's plan that he didn't like.

An unequivocal endorsement from Norquist is a remarkable accomplishment for Perry, and it adds insult to injury for Herman Cain, whose "9-9-9" tax plan was roundly panned by Norquist and other conservative tax-reform advocates last week.

Norquist compared the "9-9-9" plan, which would create 9 percent personal, corporate and sales taxes, to "having tapeworms," because it would give future politicians three revenue streams to increase instead of one.

His advice: "Just take the present system and prune it back like a rose bush."


Perry also got a high-profile endorsement of his tax plan on Tuesday from Chris Chocola, the president of the Club for Growth, which advocates for fiscally conservative policies.

"A flat tax like the one proposed by Perry would unleash years of economic growth if it is passed into law," Chocola said, according to Politico. "Perry clearly understands that revitalizing the economy should start with a complete overhaul of a tax code that has nearly choked economic growth to death."

It will probably take more than high-profile endorsements of his tax plan to revive Perry's campaign, if his poll numbers -- 6 percent in a CBS News-New York Times poll released Tuesday, and in the single digits in other polls as well -- are any indication. Until the polls show his numbers rebounding, he remains a long-shot candidate -- but with Norquist's backing, he could pull it off.

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