Newt's plan for the economy

@CNNMoney November 29, 2011: 6:10 PM ET

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- When Newt Gingrich first released his economic plan, Donald Trump was still considering a 2012 bid and NASA had a space shuttle program.

That was in May -- and boy, times have changed.

Once considered a long-shot, the former Speaker of the House is now the national frontrunner for the Republican nomination, and is polling well in the early states of Iowa and South Carolina.

So what exactly would President Gingrich do to help the economy? Well, he'd change almost everything.

Gingrich wants to sharply reduce corporate tax rates, while reforming entitlement programs, the Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency.

He wants to repeal the health care and Wall Street reform laws, while getting rid of estate and capital gains taxes, Sarbanes-Oxley and the Community Reinvestment Act.

But wait, there's more to his plan...

Gingrich wants to extend the Bush tax cuts, balance the budget, institute an optional flat tax, break up Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and reform the Federal Reserve.

Here's a snapshot of what the country might look like under President Newt Gingrich:

Corporate taxes

Gingrich wants to reduce the corporate tax rate from 35% to 12.5% -- a move that would take the corporate tax rate from one of the highest in the industrialized world to one of the lowest.

He argues that a drop of that magnitude would make the U.S. a much more attractive place to do business.

But at the same time, the drastic reduction would leave an enormous hole in revenue collected by the government, making a balanced budget all the more difficult.

Individual taxes

Gingrich wants to add to the current tax code by putting an optional 15% flat tax on income in place. Similar to the plan proposed by Rick Perry, taxpayers would be able to choose whether to pay the flat tax, or file under the existing tax code.

The new flat tax would boost growth, Gingrich says, while saving hundreds of billions in compliance costs.

But tax experts have thrown cold water on that idea -- arguing that adding an additional tax option would necessitate the preparation of multiple returns to ensure the lowest rate.

In addition, Gingrich would like to eliminate the estate and capital gains taxes.

Federal government

If Gingrich gets his way, the size of the federal government will shrink dramatically, and the agencies left over will do far less regulating.

Gingrich wants to replace the Environmental Protection Agency -- which his website calls a "job-killing regulatory engine of higher energy prices" with an "Environmental Solutions Agency."

He would replace the National Labor Relations Board and reform the Food and Drug Administration. (Regulation: Not the job killer GOP says)

The Federal Reserve's mission would be pared back. No longer would the Fed be tasked with keeping unemployment in check. Instead, the central bank would be limited to a goal of "maintaining stable prices."

Less regulation

Gingrich is in favor of "very serious deregulation" and wants to repeal the Wall Street reform law that, among other things, authorizes regulation of the murky derivatives market.

Sarbanes-Oxley, which laid down new regulations on public companies after major accounting scandals hit Enron, Tyco and others, would be wiped off the books.

And Gingrich would remove bureaucratic and legal obstacles that prevent offshore drilling and oil shale development.

Entitlement reform

Gingrich favors the creation of optional private Social Security accounts for younger workers.

He also wants to give states block grants to fund Medicaid. As for Medicare, Gingrich wants new private insurance options with a regular "premium support" payment.

Gingrich would also shift all federal means tested welfare programs back to the states, which he said would "help millions move from dependency to prosperity while saving taxpayer[s] trillions."

The "other" category

There are a few Gingrich policies that fall well outside mainstream thought. One is a proposal to employ poor children as school janitors, an idea that runs afoul of current child labor laws.

And Gingrich has advocated for the use of "Lean Six Sigma," a management strategy that has a cult-like following in the business community but is virtually unknown in government circles.

Gingrich frequently cites estimates that project savings of $5 trillion over 10 years -- an astronomical figure -- if Lean Six Sigma techniques are taught within the government. To top of page

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