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The Wall Street Journal reports:

“I’m very, very excited by it,” Mr. Forbes said in a telephone interview. “What Perry is proposing is a radical simplification of the income tax code….It’s finally coming to pass.”

Mr. Perry officially announced his support for the flat tax in a speech on Wednesday. Mr. Forbes, who ran in 1996 and 2000 and now is advising the Perry camp, said that the “concept remains the same” as his own flat tax plan from the 1990s. That plan included a $36,000 exemption for a family of four and a 17% flat rate on income above that level. It also would have eliminated taxes on personal savings and capital gains in order to encourage investment.

In political terms, the Perry proposal appears to be a response to the popularity of candidate Herman Cain’s own radical “9-9-9” tax plan, which combines a flat tax on businesses and individuals with a national sales tax.

Mr. Forbes – like some other political observers – thinks Mr. Perry’s embrace of the flat tax makes it even more likely that tax reform will become a key issue in the 2012 campaign, particularly for Republicans.

“It’ll be a huge tonic politically and economically and make it a huge issue next year,” he said. “And there will be a big mandate for tax simplification.”

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