Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan is Troubling

By Gary P Jackson

I want to like Herman Cain, I really do, but the man makes it hard.

I have a lot of concerns about Cain, not the least of which is his complete lack of experience as an elected official, and a total lack of any record of accoplishment as an elected official. Oh sure, Cain has a solid record as a CEO, but that’s not the same as having a record as an elected executive, who has experience in successfully dealing with a legislature, and actually putting all of the happy talking into action.

Herman Cain has zero foreign policy experience, and his answers to tough questions always seems to be that he’ll simply sublet that out to his advisors. This is scary on many levels. What if he picks morons for advisors? [we’ve seen how well that works with the Obama regime] Also, as the President always takes the lead in foreign policy, not Congress, it would be nice to have a chief executive that actually has a coherent thought on the matter. Foreign policy is at least AS important as domestic issues.

Cain’s supposed strong suit is the economy. After all, he’s a businessman. And yet, he supported idiotic ideas such as TARP, and actually said THIS in 2008:

Wake up people! Owning a part of the major banks in America is not a bad thing. We could make a profit while solving a problem.

Cain also said:

Far from nationalization, purchase of bank stocks is a win-win for taxpayers

You can read his entire column here.

Cain’s thinking falls right in line with President George W. Bush’s “I had to abandon free market principles to save the free market.

Looking back, TARP and owning bank shares have been an absolute disaster. Far from Cain’s “win-win” naivetĂ©.

Cain’s poor judgment back in 2008 is just the beginning. What worries me today is his so-called 9-9-9 plan. Herman Cain is a salesman at heart, and he’s come up with a catchy idea that a lot of people are sold on, but his plan is even more dangerous than the “Fair Tax” that is being pushed by the criminally insane.

Look, no one disputes the need for serious reform of the current tax code. We need to take away government control. By that I mean we need to reform the system so lawmakers can’t use the tax code to encourage or discourage certain behavior.

Tax credits are often give to people who do things like purchase and install solar panels, or buy hybrid or all electric cars. This is nothing more than a form of cronyism, where-in the lawmakers reward those who support them. I’m using the “green” tax breaks as an example, but government has used the tax code as a form of social engineering, and to reward cronies, for decades.

The United States has always taxed income, not retail sales. One can debate the wisdom of that from now until the end of time. Point is, other than the few times Congress sought to punish the successful by imposing a “luxury tax” on high end items, [which always hurt the makers of said items] the income tax has been the main way of funding government.

The income tax, when originally implemented, was supposed to be temporary, and only a few percentage points. Well, as Ronald Reagan was fond of saying, there is nothing more permanent than a temporary government program. It wasn’t long before the top tax rate was a staggering 90%!

Cain’s plan calls for a 9% sales tax, a 9% personal income tax, and a 9% corporate tax.

Now Cain isn’t suggesting a constitutional amendment here, so what he is really doing is simply adding a sales tax to go along side something we already have, an income tax. This isn’t a whole lot different than the United Kingdom’s value added tax. [VAT] Oh and rather than having the rates set in stone, Cain would only “suggest” a two-thirds majority to raise the rates. We already know that among the permanent political class raising taxes is no big deal. There would be nothing to stop future congresses and presidents from raising the rates at will.

This isn’t even the worst part.

Last week Tammy Bruce posted a video of Cain and some must read commentary about his remarks here.

In the video Cain is asked how his plan would effect the poorest among us, and whether there would be tax exemptions for life’s most basic needs, like food. Without batting an eye, Cain said there would be no exemptions, and then went off on a tangent about buying used clothes and used cars.

Cain also goes on to explain how his tax would actually be better, because of the elimination of payroll taxes and withholding. Now it sounds good when said by a slick salesman, but there is little reality here.

Texas, for example has a state sales tax. [we have no income tax] Cities and counties also have a sales tax that is collected at the same time. The current state tax rate is 6.25%, where I live, the city and county add another 2%. In Texas goods and some services, like auto repair, are taxed. Food, medicine, and medical services are among the things that are tax exempt. Though there are some, in their lust to further the growth of government, who would love to end those exemptions, Texans wouldn’t stand for it.

The problem with Herman Cain is he can talk the talk, but has forgotten what it’s like to walk the walk.

You see, the poorest among us, many who are living on Social Security and disability checks [fixed incomes] don’t pay payroll taxes and won’t see the alleged benefits Cain cites. They will only see the cost of everything they buy go up by 9% at the check-out counter. This will only limit their buying power further.

Cain’s answer seems to say the poor don’t deserve new stuff and should be happy to wear other people’s discarded clothes. I’ve worn hand-me-downs before myself, but I’ll be damned if I buy used underwear! Also, if you’ve ever shopped at Wal-Mart, you’ll know you can often buy new clothes for the same price [or less] than at the thrift store. Of course, if someone is buying from a thrift store, one would think they’d be subject to Cain’s 9%. So now what, you got the poor chasing all over town looking at garage sales for clothes? That’s all I can figure.

I wonder if there is such a thing as “used food” the poor can buy?

What gets me is how cavalier Herman Cain is about all of it. How matter-of-factly he says no to exempting basic items like food. No thought to how this will effect those who can least stand to have another expense.

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan sounds more like a good offer on a pizza than a coherent tax plan. In fact, if you live near a CiCi’s Pizza restaurant, you can go pick up three loaded medium pizzas for, you guessed it, $9.99!

The idea of adding a sales tax at all, while still having an income tax, is insane. We’ve seen this movie before, and that 9% will turn to 19% sooner rather than later.

The only way to reform the tax code is by constitutional amendment. Something that sets rates in stone. Then it would take another amendment to change the rates. Anything less is unacceptable.

I’m sure Cain means well, but under his plan there is nothing to stop future presidents and future congresses from raising rates, and harming those who can least afford it, even more.

I’m not totally opposed to a national sales tax, as long as it replaces the current system of taxing income completely, and as long as basic items like food, medicine, and medical services are not taxed.

This is the problem with the equally silly “Fair Tax.” It taxes everything as well, and at a much higher rate, though it does replace the income tax in it’s entirety. Now proponents of this Rube Goldberg device proclaim that taxpayers would get a “pre-bate” check to cover the taxes paid of food and the like.


Under the “ Fair Tax” government would control the amount of the “pre-bate” one would receive monthly. Past experience tells me that check would never be enough to cover the actual taxes paid in. Why the authors of this fiasco waiting to happen didn’t just think to exempt some things, like food, and eliminating the need for government controlled “pre-bate” checks, is beyond me. The cost to process these “pre-bates” alone would be staggering.

Back to Herman Cain, just today economist Steve Moore, one of the architects of the 9-9-9 plan, says he would drop the sales tax portion of the plan. Of course I’m not so sure his newest idea is any better, which is to replace the sales tax with a 9% payroll tax. [in addition to the 9% income tax]

Oddly enough, just today, well respected economist Peter Schiff says there is already a hidden 9% payroll tax built into Cain’s 9-9-9 plan!

I like simple. Rather than all of these “plans” that are as just so much smoke and mirrors, how about a reformed income tax code instead?

My plan would be simple. Tax personal income only. No deductions, except for the first, say $20,000 in income. [adjusted for inflation] This would allow the truly poor some breathing room. You would tax every individual earning a paycheck. There would be no more distinctions between single and married. The tax form would be simple: “How much did you earn? [minus the first $20,000] Send in X percent of that. No hassle, no social engineering, nothing. The economy would explode. [in a good way]

Herman Cain is someone to admire and respect, but having watched him as a candidate I am convinced that he’s not ready, or even remotely qualified, to be president. We already have an on-the-job trainee as president. Don’t need another one.

Our options for 2012 are very poor, to say the least. We must continue to vet all of the candidates and their ideas. We can’t afford to go easy on any of them. This election is just too important to screw up.

Unless Herman Cain starts to show me more than he has, I simply cannot get behind him.



Filed under In The News, Politics, tammy bruce

12 responses to “Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Plan is Troubling

  1. You’ve missed a couple things.. Yes, Federal Sales tax would go up by 9% but the hidden costs that are already added to all products and food would be removed because of the reduction in Corporate taxes.. Remember, it’s competition that regulates Capitalism and if able, corporations would drop as much as needed to remain competitive, so it’s likely that products and food would drop more than 9% in cost to offset the 9% added in Federal Sales Tax… If even the poor are made to pay 9% Personal Tax and 9% consumption tax, this becomes a great deterrent for Dems to raise taxes if they have to raise them on everyone to do it… Most American’s will see a reduction in Taxes under 999.. And America can become fair again rather than a Country of Special rights for a few….

    • Gary P

      Most Americans WON’T see a reduction, and again, this will hurt the poor significantly. I doubt you’ll see a reduction in prices to equal the 9% either. Even the guy who actually created this deal for Cain says he would ditch the sales tax part of it. This plan is like most, it’s smoke and mirrors, and little more.

      Maybe it doesn’t bother you that Cain is clueless about how the world works, but it bothers me greatly.

      This tax issue is just one problem. The man is clueless on may subjects that someone who wants to be the leader of the free world can’t afford to be clueless on. America can’t afford it. As I said, we already have an on-the-job trainee as president now. America won’t survive two in a row.

      • NHConservative0221


        A distinction that must be made is the difference of ideology. That’s the main reason we’re in such a mess now is that Obama is a radical marxist who believes in redistribution of wealth and fundamentally transforming America.

        Cain is a conservative who believes in the free market. Yes, he may have some growing pains. It bothers me too that he doesn’t have record politically to judge him on, but he’s not a radical marxist. I also think he’s much more committed to conservative principles than either Romney or Perry. Especially when you have Romney defending Romneycare and Perry still defending the Dream Act.

      • Gary P

        I like Cain, but just because he can speak well, doesn’t mean he can govern. The guy is constantly having to clarify what he’s said, and has a habit of saying and doing some really dumb things.

        This isn’t the PTA or the mayorship of a small town, this is the most important job in the world. Cain simply isn’t qualified for this position. Not even a little bit qualified.

        He has zero experience governing. He has no foreign policy experience, and no real ideas. As I wrote, he’s more about saying he’ll let advisors handle all of that, than having ideas of his own. He can’t even express the basics of what he thinks.

        Just because he’s “not Obama” doesn’t mean he’s electable. There are 350 million “not Obama’s” in America.

        Again, I think Herman Cain is a really good guy, but he is in way over his head.

  2. IwjwI

    There will be many more people waiting in lines with poor people to buy used underware just to avoid paying a tax. No one would want to buy anything new. People will go to a garage/yard sale, or go to a thrift store in a wealthy neighborhood to get better stuff.

    The 9-9-9 plan discriminates against poor people in more ways than one.

    And the 9-9-9 plan would eventually become the 25-25-25 plan. Eventually, taxes wouldn’t let poor people have money enough to buy
    a loaf of bread.

  3. C.A. Bamford

    Bill, what guarantee would we have that prices would go down? Has this ever happened? Businesses might see a reduction in corporate taxes, but they would also lose the benefit of their special exemptions. Those hardest hit by this simplistic plan would be the working poor. Those who now pay abt 7% are barely getting by. Increase that and it will come out of basic living expenses. Add a 9% national sales tax to states that already have a sales tax of up to 10%, and you may as well shoot those struggling to survive. Sure, maybe they can buy used underwear. But where does one buy used food, toothbrushes, and toilet paper? This plan is well meant, but it is as competent as Herman’s foreign policy. I like the guy a lot, and would vote for him in a heartbeat under different circumstances. But we have got to do better if our nation is to survive and prosper once again.

  4. patricia cala

    I understand the debate. And, I will continue to try to comprehend as much as is put forth. Here is what bothered me this morining. And, she probably did it purposley to gain attention. The TV program, The View, the main character (BW) said that the Republicans were so … at odds that they had this large number of primary candidates. I counted from 2008 Democratic primary. Final contenders numbered 10, cut from15, plus 5 droped out early and 5 said, no way. That makes 25. I would not ask for equal air time, she and JB are too abusive.

  5. Pingback: Sarah Palin Finds No Meat In Last Night’s Debate Sandwich | A Time For Choosing

  6. NHConservative0221


    We both agree that the last thing we need is a RINO like Romney or Perry. I think Perry is better than Romney, but both would continue to grow gov’t and only slow down the our descent into statism.

    I actually like Bachmann better than Cain, but right now she’s going nowhere. At this point, Cain may be the only chance to defeat Romney.

    As for 9-9-9: I was apprehensive about this myself at first. I’ve done alot of research about it and I feel better about it now, but still not completely sold on it. Let’s remember though that it’s a starting point to start the discussion. As President, Cain couldn’t implement this on his own. Congress will have to agree. The plan can be modified and approved. It’s already gotten lots of attention, if Cain wins, the plan will be completely vetted inside and out before any of it is implemented.

    You stated that it could be increased from 9-9-9 to 27–27-27. Yes that’s true, but the same is true of any tax plan, including our present progressive income tax. The key as you know, is the insane spending. Unless we have drastic cuts, the taxes will skyrocked no matter the tax code. Also, as another commenter mentioned it would be more difficult for the libs to raise taxes if everyone was paying.

    Finally, don’t know if you saw this, but one of the architects of Reagan’s supply side econonics supports 9-9-9:


    Cain may not have all the answers for foreign policy, but he believes in a strong national defense. He supports Israel. His ideology is correct. He said he reads guys like John Bolton for foreign policy, which sounds pretty good to me.

    Don’t write him off just yet. He’s much better than the RINO’s ROmney and Perry.

    • Gary P

      Art Laffer supports Cain’s plan. That just makes me question Art Laffer’s thinking. Steve Moore, one of the people who actually wrote Cain’s plan, is backing away from it.

      Just because he isn’t Perry or Romney doesn’t make him qualified either.

      Frankly, at this point I can’t support any candidate. There is simply no one out there I actually trust to do what must be done. Perry and Romney will lie, and the rest don’t have the skill set needed.

  7. Joy

    That was a great analysis – not only of Cain’s 9-9-9 plan (and all the loopholes and potholes on the road to that tax revision!), but also of his seeming disconnect – and even disinterest – in matters of foreign policy (truly troubling, I completely agree with you!). When he first bluntly announced (unprovoked), “No Muslims in my Cabinet!” – and then had to back-peddle THAT one Big Time! – I lost my first bit of confidence in him (and I’m no fan of any of this pro-Islamist and pro-Sharia business that has insinuated itself into far too much of the social, legal and economic fabric of our society today!).

    And his views – or, rather, lack of same – on how to deal with the wars in which we’re currently involved, is even more troubling. He doesn’t seem to have any strong convictions in that area (at least, he hasn’t spoken out very forcefully) – and that’s a real puzzlement, ’cause all the others seem to have some views (albeit different) on foreign policy and the military.

    Will the REAL Herman Cain please step forward?

  8. Pingback: Herman Cain Doubles Down on Stupid with His “Revised” 9-9-9 Plan | A Time For Choosing

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