Perry and Schlafly mix it up over marriage and taxes

Most of the criticism dogging Gov. Rick Perry’s tax plan for the country focuses on the monster tax breaks it would deal to wealthiest Americans, or for the huge revenue cuts it would bring.

But Phyllis Schlafly, the religious-right icon who, like Perry, was featured at this year’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, says Perry’s plan fails on another measure: protection of marriage.

Phyllis Schlafly (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia)

In an op-ed at Creators.com, the Eagle Forum founder tears into Perry’s flat-tax proposal which, she says, “would eliminate all tax advantages for married couples where one spouse is the primary breadwinner.”

Schlafly bristles at the possibility that, if Perry has his way, husbands and wives wouldn’t be allowed to file jointly, ending the deductions and other tax benefits married couples enjoy today. “Does Rick Perry want to undermine traditional marriage?” she asks, going on to dismiss his campaign’s message:

Perry’s spokesman told the Wall Street Journal, “We were very careful to construct this in a way that protects the middle class.” No. Giving that size deduction to unmarried parents, defined as “individuals and their dependents,” means rewarding bad behavior and is, by definition, outside the middle class. Regardless of income, you can’t be middle class without respecting middle-class values, the most important of which is marriage.

Perry has found plenty of common ground with the Eagle Forum, and its state chapter, in the past. Months before his latest gubernatorial win,
Perry delivered a speech at a 2010 Texas Eagle Forum event honoring Schlafly. “We are in a struggle for the heart and soul of our nation,” Perry told the crowd, the Dallas Morning News reported.

While he’s continued to rack up sizable support from evangelical and family-values crowd in his presidential bid, Schlafly isn’t letting Perry off the hook for comments he made months ago about marriage equality in New York:

The anti-family bias of Perry’s tax plan is found to a lesser degree in several other tax reform plans. But Perry has been on probation with pro-family voters since July when he told an elite group of big-money donors in Aspen that he was “fine” with gay marriage in New York because “that’s their business.”

New York’s same-sex marriage is, indeed, Texas’s business, too, since two same-sex couples have already moved to Texas and are demanding that Texas courts recognize their marriage. This shows why the definition of marriage is a national and not a states-right issue.

Joint filing isn’t the only issue that’s got Schlafly upset about the Perry plan, though. She calls his tax break on corporate earnings made outside the U.S. “equally pernicious”:

We should do exactly the opposite. We should reduce or eliminate taxes on businesses that employ Americans producing goods and services inside our own country, while increasing taxes on the profits that corporations earn by outsourcing or manufacturing overseas.

Of Republican presidential candidates, only Herman Cain and Rick Santorum understand that what corporations need is lower taxes on their operations inside the United States rather than on the profits they earn in other countries.

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Patrick Michels

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