Former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson formally launched his campaign for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination today and used the occasion to call for a "flat tax."
Over a decade ago, magazine publisher Steve Forbes made the flat tax the centerpiece of his presidential campaign and this year Sam Brownback, another Republican candidate, is backing the concept. Now, Thompson is now advocating a "flat" federal tax on income as an alternative to the current system with its deductions and other complications. "We’re just 11 days away from tax day when we force taxpayers to hand over even more of their money," Thompson says. "We must make them jump through countless hoops to have the privilege of doing so. That to me seems a little strange."
Thompson calls the present system "odd" — and he suggests letting Americans calculate their taxes under both systems and choose to pay whichever tally is less. Thompson points to his 14-year-record as governor of Wisconsin as proof he has the will to enact change. "I cut taxes by $16 billion while I was governor and I vetoed over 1900 items, making sure that government lived with the same means that our families must," Thompson says.
Thompson, a four-term governor who left that job early to serve as President Bush’s first Secretary of Health and Human Services, calls himself a "reliable" conservative. "Yes, America’s facing some tough times, some uncertain times," Thompson said. "But it’s time for America and Americans to come together, roll up our sleeves and get to work addressing the problems of our time."
Thompson spoke to a crowd of about 250 Republicans in suburban Des Moines and opened by mentioning the "great news" that Iran had released the 15 British sailors. "I think our prayers are answered," Thompson said, as the crowd applauded. "It certainly shows in this time we have to have a ready and strong military in order to protect ourselves."
Click on the audio link below to hear Thompson’s brief discussion about the flat tax.