Posted by: Calmseas (Mike) | October 21, 2011


I really like Herman Cain and what he stands for.  If you go to his web site, you will see his stance clearly spelled out on ten of the most critical issues facing the nation today: national security; government spending; immigration policy; energy policy; the economy; health care; entitlements; regulation; education; and faith and Family. I generally agree with Mr. Cain on all of these areas, but then so do all his fellow republicans vying for the nomination.  What seems to set Mr. Cain apart from the rest is his simple plan for overhauling the nation’s tax system: the “9-9-9” plan.

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan is bold, and it is straightforward.  For true conservatives, it is also disturbing.  Simply stated, Cain’s plan would impose a 9-percent corporate tax, and 9-percent personal income tax, and a 9-percent national sales tax.  It is the national sales tax component that has me running for cover.  While I see the merits of moving away from a tax on production to a tax on consumption, the problem with this plan is that one does not replace the other; rather, a consumption tax, i.e., a wholly new national sales tax, would be implemented alongside the existing income tax—and it would be added to the myriad of already existing state sales taxes.

Can you imagine the increased paperwork burden and additional accountability for businesses?  And what about individuals who are now paying 8- and 10-percent in state sales tax?  What kind of burden will it be to pay 17- or 19-percent of every purchase to the government, on top of a 9-percent income tax, a 15.3% social security tax, property taxes, and other taxes, licenses, and fees?  The federal government is already a money-starved, out-of-control monster.  Let’s not make things worse.

A uniform, nationwide sales tax would expand the federal bureaucracy and further empower the federal government, two things that conservatives reject as part of their fundamental philosophy.  And, as Chris Wallace of Fox News so astutely asked Mr. Cain in an interview the other day, “How do you guarantee that 9-9-9 down the line doesn’t become 12-12-12?”  How indeed!

While I very much like Herman Cain, 9-9-9 is enough for me to take my vote and look elsewhere for a candidate.  A national sales tax should not be even part of the mix of tax reform unless it wholly supplants the income tax, and in one step, not incrementally; we all know that we will never get there if we try to do this in several pieces.  As Michele Bachman recently stated, ” . . . when you take the 9-9-9 plan and turn it upside down, I think the devil’s in the details.”  And with this plan, you don’t need to sift too many details to find the devil.


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