Jerry Brown and the Flat Tax

Will Jerry Brown push his 1992 Presidential Campaign Idea? I hope so.

No, this publication hasn't accidently reposted an article from Newsweek or The Nation.

In his recent book "Broke," Glenn Beck uncovered this nugget in Chapter 20, P. 345-6:

"In 1992, while he was running for president, former California governor Jerry Brown came out with a flat tax. Brown was no supply-sider, but he saw that special interests had created huge loopholes in the tax code and that the tax code was too complex."

Amazingly, in 1992, Brown met with conservative economist Arthur Laffer to craft a 13 percent flat tax. Even more amazing was the fact that the New York Times and the New Republic endorsed it.  I guess if a Democrat favors a program, it automatically loses its "Party of the Rich" negative taint and becomes...well...Democratic.

In light of California's economic woes, this topic came up again in a February 2010 article discussing Brown's then-possible run for the Governorship. Another conservative was linked to Brown - Flat Tax advocate Steve Forbes.  Dan Weil, writing for NewsMax, stated:

Brown, now state attorney general, "was ahead of his time" in suggesting the flat tax idea during the 1992 Democratic presidential campaign, Forbes told the San Francisco Chronicle. Forbes was a Republican presidential candidate himself in 1996 and 2000. (snip)

Forbes says he and Brown have "compared notes over the years" on the flat tax concept, and that it could work in California.

"If done right, it would profoundly and positively change the economy in California," he said. "A low single-digit rate would unleash creativity," and boost the beleaguered state economy.

Forbes says he's looking forward to Brown's campaign to see what the former governor proposes in terms of taxes and public unions.

Well, Mr. Forbes, now that Jerry Brown has won the election, all residents of California can look forward to seeing if their new governor will bring forward a bold flax tax plan to defibrillate the state's stricken economy. As dire as things are in California, any such a flat tax proposal would be useless without an accompanying major cut in state government expenditures. One would think that Democratic legislators in the former Golden State, now the "Can't Stop Dreamin' State,"  wouldn't even bother to denounce a hypothetical flat tax proposal until such time as it was shown that Washington (the national legislators of the 49 other states) officially decline to bail California out of its fiscal mess.

A few days ago, I heard a commercial on the Rush Limbaugh Show touting the purchase of California State Bonds to people in the New York City Tri-State area (as if any political junkie from the political right - or left - listening to Rush doesn't know about California's financial situation). I'd sooner attempt to promote a world championship hundred yard dash meet on the famed winding part of San Francisco's Lombard Street than buy any of those bonds.

Will Jerry Brown propose a state flat tax? Will the California Legislature, pressed by a looming bankruptcy, agree pass it? Time will tell.

But California doesn't have that much time.
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