GOP debate to put a focus on Herman Cain and ‘999′ plan

For the first time in the 2012 GOP presidential contest, metro Atlanta entrepreneur Herman Cain has worked himself into the center of a national debate.

Tuesday’s GOP debate in New Hampshire, sponsored by Bloomberg News and the Washington Post, will be the fifth meeting of candidates, but the first to put a sole focus on the economy.

The debate could go a long way toward telling us whether Cain’s “999” plan – a 9 percent corporate income tax, a 9 percent personal income tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax – will hold up to intense scrutiny.

A spokesman for Dartmouth College, where the debate is to be held, said the candidates will be seated – no podium – according to their standings in a Bloomberg/Post national poll of 1,000 likely voters released Monday: Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney with 24 percent of the vote, Cain with 16 percent, and Texas Gov. Rick Perry at 13 percent.

U.S. Reps. Ron Paul of Texas and Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, and U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania finished in single digits – in that order.

When it comes to the economy, Cain inches even closer to Romney. When asked which candidate “would do the most to improve the economy,” Republican voters put Romney and Cain in a virtual tie, according to the Bloomberg/Washington Post survey.

In other words, when the red light blinks tonight, Cain will be at Romney’s right hand, at the center of the fight.

Unfortunately, the New Hampshire debate could also have the smallest TV viewership of any so far. And chances are that many of Cain’s home state supporters won’t be able to see it at all. On the Tube, the debate can be watched only on Bloomberg TV — available in most of the metro Atlanta area through several providers, including Comcast, DirectTV, Dish and AT&T U-verse.

For others, the Internet will have to do: www.bloomberg.com or www.washingtonpost.com.

Tonight’s drama, wherever you find it, is likely to be driven by the governor of Texas. The last two debate performances by Perry, who led the pack shortly after entering the contest in August, have caused his supporters to wince.

A brutal TV ad released by the Perry campaign on Monday, comparing Romney’s overhaul of Massachusetts’ health care system to President Barack Obama’s plan, indicates the Texas governor plans to take aim at the frontrunner:

But Cain would also be a tempting target. The former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza has proposed the most detailed economic plan of any GOP candidate. He himself has acknowledged that it would also be also the most earth-shaking.

But any GOP candidate who attacks Cain’s “999” plan is likely to do so from the right. A Republican crowd will have no patience for arguments that a 9 percent national consumption tax would weigh most heavily on the poor.

Dean Clancy at FreedomWorks, a Washington-based funder of many tea party activities, provided the blueprint last week.

While a fan of a lower corporate and personal income tax rate, Clancy pointed to the final “9” of Cain’s plan.

“[A]dding a national retail sales tax on top of the federal income tax (even a flat tax) is a bad idea, because it creates the infrastructure for a federal-level, European-style [value-added tax],” he wrote.

Cain will – as he has – argue that he’ll also require a two-thirds vote in Congress in order to raise his national sales tax.

But he – and all other candidates – will be selling to a highly skeptical public.

Asked if the current economy would be better under a Republican president, 23 percent of those polled in the Bloomberg/Washington Post survey said yes. But 25 percent said the economy would be worse, and 45 percent said it would make no difference.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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97 comments Add your comment

Shine

October 10th, 2011
1:48 pm

Say no-no-no to 9-9-9

honested

October 10th, 2011
1:52 pm

Another ‘debate commercial’, another belch of platitudes, another reason to vote for President Obama.

Max Grubb

October 10th, 2011
1:57 pm

I am not understanding how any tax reform isn’t susceptible to similar hikes? All taxes are subject to change. Nature of a democratic republic. These lame arguments need to go because they lack any strength and just focuses attention away from real solutions. Just tack on a super majority rule to change it and problem solved.

Centrist

October 10th, 2011
1:59 pm

9-9-9 is just the basic idea – before it became law, there would be MANY changes. SOMETHING is needed to replace our special interest matrix income tax code with favored deductions, credits, exemptions, and loopholes requiring many filers to send in dozens of pages of calculations and forms.

Often left out of his plan (like above) is that taxpayers could claim a deduction for charitable contributions and earn a tax credit for living in an “empowerment zone” – inner cities needing revitalization.

I’d exempt basic groceries and utilities so the poor would pay little, if any, in taxes.

I’d add a 4th “9″ for investment income, a fifth “9″ on income over a $1 million, and sixth “9″ on incomes over $10 million, and a 7th “9″ on inheritances over $5 million which could not be exempted by any sort of trusts.

Dan

October 10th, 2011
1:59 pm

A 9% sales tax on top of an already 7% sales tax I already pay; so a 16% sales tax on EVERY purchase I make?? No exclusions including food and clothing or mortgages they say, or we would not have enough tax income. And if you think people have a hard time paying taxes they DON’T see; wait until they have to pull that 16% out of their pocket every time! This idea is dead before it starts.

Ol' Timer

October 10th, 2011
2:01 pm

“Ignorance is a right. Education is eroding one of the few democratic freedoms remaining to us.”
~Christopher Andrea

deegee

October 10th, 2011
2:04 pm

Does Herman Cain have any data that would confirm that the 999 plan would solve our budgetary issues or is this another one of his “feels right to me” ideas? It’s interesting to me that the conservatives believe that what ever you tax you get less of, yet they are so anxious to tax consumption. What do they think we are going to get less of after they tax every purchase at 18 percent?

Road Scholar

October 10th, 2011
2:08 pm

While the housing market is in shambles, what is the predicted affect on the housing industry of not having the mortgage deduction? It’s easy to spout change when one doesn’t know how it affects things!

Or have Americans been dumbed down enough to not even consider it in their purchase of a house?

Danny O

October 10th, 2011
2:09 pm

So is Mr. Clancy suggesting the status quo is, in his opinion, better than Herman Cain’s plan? Otherwise, it just looks like a veiled attempt to tone down the recent excitement for his candidacy. There is always a risk that an idea, if enacted, could later be changed by a future legislature. It’s a democracy.

Jackie

October 10th, 2011
2:09 pm

What we need a little focus on the president. He has stopped trying to actually govern and is spending his time campaigning, pushing a bill he can’t get through the democrat controlled Senate becasue it’s just stimulus 2. More and more Obama seems an out of touch, not very hard working adademic surprised that his “solutions” are failing day by day.

CobbGOPer

October 10th, 2011
2:09 pm

Herman used to support the FairTax. Would have been nice if he’d made that, instead of this 999 plan, his backbone issue for economic recovery and simplification of the tax system. FairTax could use the greater national exposure. Herman, I am disappoint.

Ga Values, Just Call Me Heartless

October 10th, 2011
2:13 pm

Ron Paul has my vote

Centrist

October 10th, 2011
2:16 pm

@ Jackie – even the moderate David Brooks of the New York Times has come to your same conclusion:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/20/opinion/brooks-obama-rejects-obamaism.html?_r=1&ref=davidbrooks

G-man

October 10th, 2011
2:16 pm

Increasing taxation without constraining the government from excessive borrowing above the tax revenues created thereby is just plain irresponsible. Taxing consumption in addition to income is good, because it captures those that are earning off the books, and provides an incentive to those who save. I disagree with Centrist–the poor must pay as well as the rich–there should be nothing free in life.

Centrist

October 10th, 2011
2:18 pm

@ Dan – 16% sales tax sounds high until you factor in that there would no longer be a 7.65% payroll tax and a flat 9% income tax.

Centrist

October 10th, 2011
2:23 pm

@ G-man – The poor and and almost half of all wage earners ALREADY don’t pay income tax. The poor actually have “negative” income tax rates since they qualify for earned income and child CREDITS (a check even when zero tax is owed).

ILikeCain

October 10th, 2011
2:30 pm

Cain still supports the FairTax. Go to his website and you’ll find that he’s calling for the FairTax as phase 2 of his economic plan. 999 is basically moving us halfway there, and I think it is prudent to get to the FairTax in increments.

To those criticizing a consumption tax, you must understand that by dramatically lowering corporate taxes, the prices of goods and services will come down. Consumers will pay the consumption tax on lower priced products, so the impact to the consumer will be minimal. And, lower corporate taxes will make US companies more competitive abroad. This we desperately need.

WAW

October 10th, 2011
2:36 pm

CobbGOPer: I have a feeling you are in for a lot of disappointments if you really believe that the Ruling Class is going to allow any real changes. Hint: They ain’t!

Halftrack

October 10th, 2011
2:42 pm

The media has been screaming that Repubs don’t have a plan. Seems like H. Cain has one in 999. Certainly there are risks to be taken with anyone’s plan. At least, everyone can read it before hand to know what is in it and not too many pages. It appears to me that Mr. Cain is way ahead of Obummer’s planning to get America back on track. Obummer’s plan will cost a Trillion more and loss of a lot more jobs.

Jon Lester

October 10th, 2011
2:44 pm

ILC: two thirds of US corporations end up paying no tax at all. Have you noticed any dramatic price cuts lately?

JF McNamara

October 10th, 2011
2:50 pm

Dean Clancy missed the point. There is 100% chance that “Job Creators” will pay less in taxes. That’s not class warfare though…

cartoon

October 10th, 2011
2:52 pm

A German would say nein, nein, nein to 999.

MrLiberty

October 10th, 2011
2:53 pm

Ron Paul has a 0-0-0 plan that actually calls out specifics in government cuts to pay for it and he gets no attention at all. Ron has at least actually introduced legislation to repeal the 16th amendment and end the income tax, has introduced legislation to fully audit the federal reserve and fort knox so we will finally know where we stand with our assets, and has consistently introduced or supported legislation that would increase liberty and vastly decrease government. Meanwhile Cain has some thoughts and a much high tax proposal (and he is a past director of the criminal Federal Reserve).

Omen

October 10th, 2011
2:58 pm

Just flip that 999 over. Just sayin’

td

October 10th, 2011
3:00 pm

I heard Cain state that part of his plan would also require a 2/3 vote from both chambers of Congress to raise either the income or sales tax.

I see several good parts and some bad parts of this plan. Freedom works is correct that starting a VAT and not repealing the income tax is a scary proposition knowing the way government thirst for money.

The good part is that the sales tax will tap into the underground economy and force the drug dealers, illegals, people working under the table to pay their fair share. It will also for everyone to have some skin in the game and maybe then we could have a real conversation about what the role and scope of government should be. I would like to see one revision to the law. The 9% corporation tax should be only on income produced in the US. Out of country income should be taxed at the current rates. You would see millions of jobs opening back up in the US when it is more profitable for the corporation.

Gail

October 10th, 2011
3:04 pm

Consumers are already paying more than 9% in embedded taxes on products they buy now. With lower corporate tax rates and no payroll taxes, as ILike
Cain said, the prices of goods and services should go down with the 9-9-9 plan. The taxes are just a bit more obvious.

Centrist

October 10th, 2011
3:06 pm

For the 2010 tax year the 20 most profitable U.S. companies paid an average income tax rate of 25.4%. The U.S. has higher corporate tax rates than nearly all the world’s biggest economies, so it’s only natural that they seek to generate as much of its profits overseas as possible, and pay lower taxes there. Lowering our prohibitive tax rates will make U.S. companies more competitive and worldwide conglomerates generate more profits in the U.S. That all means jobs.

Centrist

October 10th, 2011
3:15 pm

@ td posted “Out of country income should be taxed at the current rates.”

Such income is taxed in the host country (lower rate), and only the excess that is repatriated gets taxed in the U.S. So instead of bringing it home to be re-invested/taxed, it stays overseas to be re-invested there.

Mark

October 10th, 2011
3:32 pm

Funny how Republicans are jumping on Cain’s band wagon because he lays out a plan that he swears will work. First of all He’s never going to see the general election, because republicans are only riding his wave for now. Once the primaries began they will leave him in the dust to make sure that either Perry or Romney will be the candidate of their choice. Watching them scurry around right now looking for someone to put up against President Obama is very entertaining television. It’s better than cable!

Obama 2012!

Ol' Timer

October 10th, 2011
3:36 pm

Ol’ Herm found out that if nine people put nine times as much toppings on nine, nine inch pizzas you’ll end up with nine times as many customers on the ninth day of the ninth month (which of course is Spetember) and the store manage has a nine times greater chance of getting a nine percent bonus, so why wouldn’t it work for the $3,000,000,000,000 budget of the United States?

Makes sense to me.

Bemused

October 10th, 2011
3:51 pm

Of course the poor pay property taxes (they are included in rents), and, nationally, most sales taxes. By slashing income tax rates for the rich, Cain’s plan shifts more of the burden ot taxation onto the poor and middle class — and, by the way, in a manner that would increase the deficit. But after all, if we all aren’t rich, it is our fault. Herman Cain knows about as much fiscal policy as he does about the right of return for Palestinians. Beware people like Cain, and college dropouts like Beck, Boortz, Rush, and Hannity, who make grandiose fiscal and economic claims for their “plans,” before you see analysis by experts. There is a very simple reason why they couldn’t pass Intro to Macroeconomics 101.

WillieRae

October 10th, 2011
4:03 pm

How about a little focus on the massively wasteful and failed green jobs initiative that is turning into scandal? Or even a close look at the Occupiers and who organized their protest. It would be nice to see the AJC cover the Occupiers in the same way they covered the first Tea Party rallies.

Last Man Laying Down

October 10th, 2011
4:08 pm

Who here doesn’t recognize that the Obama jobs plan was never meant to pass, but to be a political tool for the 2012 elections?

jd

October 10th, 2011
4:12 pm

If 2/3 of companies don’t pay taxes — why ain’t they hiring? Could it be that the claims of lowering taxes to hire workers are all wet?

Tom

October 10th, 2011
4:17 pm

Anyone who talks about the “death tax” is simply not serious, and this includes both Romney and Cain. There is no death tax. Everybody dies, but barely 1/5 of 1% of estates owe any estate-transfer tax.

Centrist

October 10th, 2011
4:17 pm

@jd – companies pay taxes on profits. When there are no profits due to recessions, they layoff instead of hire (as well as not pay taxes).

Hey, the good news is that the unemployed don’t pay taxes, either – but they do get benefits like food stamps, WIC, school breakfast/lunch, Medicaid, TANF, SSI, childcare, public/rent-subsidized housing, child and earned income tax credits (checks if no taxes owed), and free cellphones.

Nick

October 10th, 2011
4:24 pm

Exactly how are we supposed to raise enough revenue under this plan to get us out of debt? I smell massive cuts to Medicare and Social Security to make this a remote possibility.

So even though it could NEVER pass Congress (less likely than Obama’s jobs bill). Its also unworkable and just bad overall policy. But at least unlike the others Cain actually has a plan, besides saying no to Obama.

Robert

October 10th, 2011
4:31 pm

Cain’s 999 plan sound like the “dollar menu” popular with fast food restaurants. According to his book in my opinion, Herman Cain and his “uncle tom” daddy are a disgrace to all Black Americans. His daddy use to be the driver for an executive for Coca Cola (50’s) and he acted like other “Negroes” at that time period in the deep, deep South (NC, SC, GA, etc.). Cain’s daddy was “afraid to mess things up and get involved” and encouraged his Son to act like a coward and not face reality during the civil rights movement.. Black Americans do not support the homegrown terrorist group(s) known as the “tea party” (klansmen, skinheads, birthers, etc.) whose weapons of choice are hatred, fear and rage/mob mentality against the American People (elderly, minorites, women, gays & lesbians and Muslims & Jews). Herman Cain is an “opportunist” who will do and say anything to make money. I am waiting for Herman Cain to come into the Black community and bring his “tea party” terrorist groups. Halloween will be early this year.

Shine

October 10th, 2011
4:31 pm

Hermain Cain has been brainwashed and lobotomized. Hopefully the Great Wizard of Oz can provide more than a diploma for this nutcase.

Ryan Shakur

October 10th, 2011
4:32 pm

Herman Cain will soon be donning a new campaign slogan and t-shirt: I AM MICHAEL STEELE. Somebody get Limbaugh on the phone so Herman can apologize in advance :)

td

October 10th, 2011
4:36 pm

Robert

October 10th, 2011
4:31 pm

Your white liberal masters are so proud of your vile remarks. Being deprogrammed from years of brainwashing is a hard journey my friend but you can do it and become another productive member of society instead of standing in the field asking for another hand out.

td

October 10th, 2011
4:40 pm

Shine

October 10th, 2011
4:31 pm

I feel sorry for you all that think you must have government in order to survive instead of being proud to get out there in the world and accomplish something. That brainwashing has turned you into a week mind my friend that can not think for yourself. It is hard work but you too can stand up high and break the bonds of the libs.

Joe Rational

October 10th, 2011
4:46 pm

@Centri(fugal)ist
Spinning your way to the outer edge ;) Sorry can’t resist.
So it starts with 999 and before getting started good it’s 9999999 with an exception for this and an exemption for that and a few other things. See it’s simpler (?) already.

@ILikeCain
You say “To those criticizing a consumption tax, you must understand that by dramatically lowering corporate taxes, the prices of goods and services will come down. Consumers will pay the consumption tax on lower priced products, so the impact to the consumer will be minimal.”

That’s hilarious and a little scary that you could believe that companies will lower prices in line with lower taxes. I try to keep a positive outlook while living in the real world. That’s just not real.

R U Kidding Me?

October 10th, 2011
4:57 pm

td @ 4:40pm

“week mind” ??? And you want people to think you are an intellectual? Gimme a “brake”. HAHAHAHA

t-bone

October 10th, 2011
5:27 pm

999 is far superior to the confusing mess we have now and a lot better than the plans of the other candidates-oh wait, they don’t have any. Tax reform is like the weather, everyone talks about it but no one does anything about it. At least Herman Cain has a proposal that the Congress could debate and the people could decide which system they prefer. There will always be people who want to maintain the status quo because they are paying no taxes and even get a fat check from us (taxpayers) just because they chose to have children they obviously can’t afford. It’s supposed to be ‘you play, you pay’ not ‘you play, we pay’. Time to put an end to the monstrosity that is our current tax system.

Marlboro Man

October 10th, 2011
5:31 pm

So now retired folks living on SS will have to pay 18% more. Dumb idea.

double

October 10th, 2011
5:32 pm

Out in field asking for a handout.Sit on porch and ask for a handout.Your white conservative master will bring it to you right away.Look at a country without a government.Would you like to be there?Joe that would be a right twist.

Shine

October 10th, 2011
5:42 pm

An outlaw sales taxes platform would win every governor election in the country. Poor fools like td will whine and cry about lowering taxes and call me vile names for typing the truth.

Centrist

October 10th, 2011
5:46 pm

Marlboro Man posted “So now retired folks living on SS will have to pay 18% more. Dumb idea.”

Social Security income is not taxed until reaching a certain income limit. This exemption will certainly remain, or be adjusted upward (maybe not taxed at all).

The 9-9-9 plan is just a framework, but it is certainly radically simplified over the current mess of special interest with favored deductions, credits, exemptions, and loopholes made for the politicians themselves, friends, family, and political contributors. The biggest danger to a simplified tax plan is that politicians can’t buy votes and help themselves by constantly changing the rules.

Centrist

October 10th, 2011
6:01 pm

I’m shocked – the New York Time is actually having a discussion as we (posters – not Galloway) had on this blog about the safety net being so great that jobs go begging: “when Americans complain about the lack of jobs today, they are drawing a line somewhere. For many people of the unemployed, it makes more sense to collect unemployment or disability or other benefits than it does to take a temporary job that they cannot or will not do, for whatever reason.”

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2011/10/09/what-happened-to-the-american-work-ethic-2?nl=todaysheadlines&emc=thab1