Rand Paul promotes tax-cut plan

GOP presidential candidate says voters should 'kill' current tax code

Rand Paul delivers remarks at the Cedar Rapids Public Library in downtown Cedar Rapids on Thursday, July 2, 2015. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Rand Paul delivers remarks at the Cedar Rapids Public Library in downtown Cedar Rapids on Thursday, July 2, 2015. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)

DES MOINES — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is hoping to “kill” the federal tax code and generate some buzz for his 2016 Republican presidential bid in the process.

Paul began airing a TV spot in Iowa and other key states highlighting a “fair and flat” tax plan that he says will enable Americans to destroy the 70,000-page U.S. tax code in favor of a 14.5 percent flat tax for individuals and businesses and other proposed changes.

He invites viewers to decide the best way to “kill” the current tax code using a wood chipper, chain saw, fire or some other device and provides a visual demonstration.

He promoted his plan Tuesday in a telephone interview with The Gazette.

“My fair and flat tax plan is the biggest and boldest cut in American history,” Paul said. “The only groups that will hate my plan are the lobbyists and big corporations that depend on handouts and special favors from the Washington machine. This plan is for hardworking families looking to achieve and sustain the American dream.”

Paul said his tax code overhaul would be the largest tax cut in American history and would leave roughly $2 trillion in the pockets of Americans over a 10-year period.

Key features, he said, would be to implement a 14.5 percent flat tax for all individuals and businesses, eliminate the FICA tax on American workers, eliminate corporate welfare and create at least 1.4 million jobs in the first 10 years.

The Kentucky senator said his plan would get rid of the payroll tax for individuals in favor of having businesses pay the cost of funding Social Security and Medicare. The new business tax also would include a net sales tax or business transfer tax component. All tariffs and estate, gift and excise taxes would be eliminated along with some credits, deductions and loopholes.

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“It would be a much simpler tax return, and everybody will pay their fair share,” Paul said in an interview. “We looked at the tax code and really didn’t think we could do much to make it better. We just felt that really we’ve got to start over.”

Paul said he was hopeful his TV commercial would put the 2016 campaign focus on the economy and domestic policy, noting many Americans still are struggling with lower wages, part-time work or no job at all.

“We really have not had a full-throated discussion on this because there hasn’t been anybody boldly producing a tax cut like this is a long time,” he said.

The Kentucky senator said GOP presidential rivals are giving “lip service” to balancing the federal budget, but his plan shows he is the candidate who serious about addressing financial and debt issues facing the nation. He also said he has a record that trumps other candidates who claim they will stand up to the “Washington machine.”

“I am somebody who is willing to challenge the status quo,” said Paul, who boasted a “monopoly” among the liberty wing of the Republican Party and independent Iowans “who want to be left alone.”

Paul said he is running in among the top tier of GOP candidates in Iowa and tops Democratic front-runners in head-to-head polling matchups, so he expects to do well in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation Feb. 1 precinct caucuses.

“We’re going to work very hard to try to win Iowa,” Paul said.

Not everyone embraced Paul’s approach to changing federal tax policy, however.

“Like the rest of the Republican field, Rand Paul’s plans would primarily benefit the wealthiest Americans, while slashing programs that benefit Iowa’s working families,” said Sam Lau, spokesman for the Iowa Democratic Party.

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