WASHINGTON - Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry rolled out his economic plan Tuesday aimed at creating jobs and fixing the struggling economy.
Speaking from a plastics manufacturer in the South Carolina Tuesday, the Texas governor said he'd give all Americans the option of throwing out the current tax code and replacing it with a 20 percent flat tax.
He called the proposal "Cut, Balance and Grow," adding that it "doesn't trim around the edges, and it doesn't bow down to the establishment."
Mortgage interest and charitable contributions would still be deductible in households making $500,000 or less.
Other deductions would be eliminated, and Americans who want to stay in the current tax system have the option to do so.
As president, Perry said he'd balance the federal budget in eight years and put an end to earmarks.
He suggested his plan would create nearly 3 million jobs by implementing a one-time rate of 5.25 percent on overseas profits from American businesses that want to repatriate.
"In other words, it's the kind of economic stimulus that President Obama could have achieved if he wasn't so bent on passing big government schemes that have failed American workers," Perry said.
Gov. Perry has had success raising money, but continues to lag in the polls.
Tuesday announcement came as he looked to re-energize his campaign after facing criticism for not having an economic plan.
On Social Security, Perry wants to work with Congress to raise the retirement age. Benefits of current retirees would be protected.
He said he'd lock up the Social Security trust fund to keep Congress from writing IOUs and allow young workers to invest a portion of their benefits.
"I happen to think it is time to end the nanny state and empower our people to exercise greater control over their money," Perry said.
The governor's embrace of the flat tax won him the endorsement of former presidential candidate Steve Forbes.
"To grow an economy you've got to have savings and investment. You've got to have capital formation," Americans for Prosperity founder Phil Kerpen said.
"So getting to a simple flat tax that eliminates federal taxation of savings and and investment, I think would be a great thing," he said.
"I think it would be rocket fuel for this economy," he added.
Perry's plan is up against Herman Cain "999" initiative, which has already captured a lot of attention.