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    Herman Cain's "999 Plan": The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

    10/06/2011

    So what about Herman Cain's 999 tax plan? Turns out it has some very good aspects -- and some others, not so good. I'd give it two rousing cheers and one bronx cheer. 

    The plan is called "9, 9, 9" because it would replace today's complicated and economically burdensome federal tax code with a simple, three-part system, consisting of a 9% flat tax on individuals, a 9% flat tax on businesses, and a 9% national retail sales tax.* That's it.**

    The plan thus has three major virtues: It's bold, it's simple, and it's fair. And by proposing it, Cain is showing some political courage and imagination. Grassroots voters are hungry for just those things. No wonder this plan is fueling Cain's strong standing in the GOP presidential race.  

    But there are some flaws.

    So let's consider the proposal -- the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

    The Good 

    Here are the Cain plan's good qualities: 

    • It ends nearly all deductions and special interest favors. 
    • It ends all payroll taxes. 
    • It ends the death tax. 
    • It eliminates the double taxation of dividends. 
    • It eliminates the taxation of capital gains and repatriated profits. 
    • It allows immediate expensing of business investments. 
    • It shifts the burden of taxation from production to consumption. 
    • It increases capital formation, which will fuel productivity and wage growth.

    In short, Cain's plan would be more fair, neutral, transparent, efficient, and pro-growth than today's system. Good stuff! 

    But wait. There's more. Cain says this is just Step One. Step Two would be to repeal the personal income tax altogether. Wow!  

    The Bad

    But here we come to a problem. 

    Cain doesn't get rid of the income tax. Instead, he reforms it. And then he adds a new levy -- a national retail sales tax -- on top of it. 

    Why? Why doesn't he just get rid of the income tax at the start? The answer, most likely, is that if he proposed to eliminate the income tax in one fell swoop, while trying to raise the same amount of revenue as we do today, he would have to set the rate for the sales tax so high -- well above 9% -- that voters would balk. My guess is a national sales tax would have to be set at something closer to 25%, to raise the same amount we currently raise with the existing income and payroll taxes.***

    Now, ask yourself: If you could be relieved of paying income and payroll taxes, would you be willing to pay a roughly 25% sales tax on everything you buy? Well, presumably that would depend on whether you'd be better or worse off, financially, right? The key here is how much you pay in income taxes under the current system.

    • If you're one of the minority of people -- the top 10% of the population -- who pay 70% of the income tax revenues, you might see the change as a good deal.
    • But if you're lower down the income scale, and especially if you're one of the 50% of Americans who don't pay any income taxes, then you might not see it as such a good trade.
    • And if you're poor, you might really hate it. 

    And that, I suspect, is why the so-called FairTax (the proposal to replace income and payroll taxes with a national retail sales tax) has never taken off as an idea. When people hear about that 25% rate, they experience a kind of sticker shock. They imagine, quite reasonably, that they could be worse off than under the current system.**** 

    No wonder Mr. Cain has fallen back to a two-step strategy: 9% is a teaser rate! 

    The Ugly

    The second problem with Cain's plan is more serious than the first. It puts in place the infrastructure for a VAT, a Value Added Tax. That's bad.

    No, that's very bad. 

    A VAT is a form of national sales tax that is collected at every stage of the process from the initial sale of raw materials to a manufacturer to the final sale of a finished product to an end-consumer. It's the most insidious of all taxes, because it is built into the price of everything and consumers can't see how much of the price is due to the tax. When taxes rise, prices rise, but consumers mistakenly assume that's just market forces at work. Politicians love a VAT: it lets them take a lot more money out of our wallets. And VATs usually exist side by side with income taxes, not in lieu of them. Taxpayers should hate VATs for the same reasons politicians love them.

    European countries have VATs; we do not. European countries collect a lot more in taxes than we do. These two facts are related. Consider this graph:

    VAT - Europe vs USA

    Total receipts of the US Government since World War II have averaged about 18 percent of GDP and have never exceeded 20.9 percent (the peak, in 1944). By comparison, as the graph shows, the original European Union member countries' total tax receipts since the mid-1960s, when VATs started appearing, have not been less than 30 percent of GDP and today average a little over 40 percent. In short, thanks to VATs, European tax collections are twice as high as in the US!

    Clearly, if you want to raise taxes, support a VAT. If you want to make government permanently gargantuan, support a VAT. If you want to burden your economy and destroy jobs, support a VAT. 

    "But wait, Clancy," you say. "Cain's national sales tax isn't a VAT. It's a retail sales tax, collected at the cash register. That's a big difference."

    So it is. But guess what. Cash-register sales taxes have a habit of evolving into VATs. That's what happened in Europe. And that's undoubtedly what will happen here, if we adopt Cain's plan.

    People are willing to pay a sales tax when the rate is low, but when the rate rises, they start finding ways to evade it. And sales taxes are easily evaded. So when people evade a rising sales tax, politicians respond by morphing it into a VAT. 

    Conclusion

    Mr. Cain's 999 plan is on the right track with its goal of a lower, flatter, simpler, fairer, more transparent tax system. Nine percent would be a wonderful top rate for the income tax, compared to today's 35% top rate. And let's face it, abolishing the payroll tax and the death tax would simply be awesome. 

    But adding 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 VAT.

    And if Cain's 9% personal flat tax failed to remain flat (as happened with Ronald Reagan's promising but ultimately failed 1986 tax reform), we would end up with the worst of both worlds: a confiscatory income tax and a job-crushing VAT.

    Paradoxically, then, if you want higher taxes and permanently bigger government, one way to get there would be to support Herman Cain's 999 plan! 

    Two rousing cheers, for boldness and imagination. And one bronx cheer, for a dangerous lack of foresight. 

    Dean Clancy is FreedomWorks' Legislative Counsel and Vice President, Health Care Policy

    * The 9% Individual Flat Tax would define "income" as gross income less charitable deductions. The 9% Business Flat Tax would define "income" as gross income less all investments, all purchases from other businesses and all dividends paid to shareholders. It appears the 9% National Sales Tax would be applied to all goods and services sold in the economy, though Congress could and presumably would exempt certain "vital" goods and services (such as food, medicines, health care, education). 

    ** Cain's plan would also include subsidies for Empowerment Zones, politically defined areas designated by Washington for special tax favors. This would detract from his goal of ending distortions and complexity in the tax code. 

    *** This discussion assumes we only want to raise the amount currently raised, and not the amount currently spent. The feds currently spend 40% more than they take in. If we tried to fully fund the government solely with Mr. Cain's national retail sales tax, we'd need a sales tax rate in the vicinity of 40%.

    **** In the "FairTax" plan that Mr. Cain wants to get to, every citizen and permanent resident alien would receive a monthly cash "prebate" check from the goverment.  This is intended to effectively exempt "essentials" like food and medicines from the tax with minimal hassle and paperwork at the cash register. 

    +++

    ADDENDUM: Some may read this post as a brief for a Flat Tax and against the so-called FairTax. That's not my position. I personally support, very enthusiastically, Cain's idea of eliminating both the income and payroll taxes. (And both is important -- I would want both to go, not just one or the other.) But absent constitutional amendments, the Flat Tax won't stay flat and the FairTax will become a VAT.

    Instead of replacing the income and payroll taxes with a national retail sales tax, I believe we should replace them with a system of effectively self-limiting duties, imposts, and excises, such as we had before 1913. Unlike Cain's 999 plan, the traditional, pre-1913 approach would avoid the danger of a VAT, and wouldn't necessitate constitutional amendments (though, to be sure, it would be nice to have an amendment preventing the return of an income tax).

    To put this another way, I don't oppose a national retail sales tax in principle, but I do strongly oppose it as a practical matter under current conditions, because of its high likelihood of morphing into a VAT. I could support "999," therefore, only after or contingent upon ratification of a constitutional amendment outlawing a VAT. Rep. John Linder's proposal to sunset the FairTax automatically after 8 years, should the 16th Amendment remain in place, is not a serious way to address the concern. The constitutional amendment needs to be ratified first, before the FairTax takes effect. 

    Unfortunately, if revived today, the traditional, pre-1913 tax system would face the same practical problem as Cain's proposed sales tax, to wit: If we want to raise as much revenue as we currently do -- let's not even talk about trying to raise as much as we currently spend -- the rates would have to be set so high as to be politically and economically untenable. The real reason fundamental tax reform goes nowhere is that today's federal government is simply too big. The true "Step One" of fundamental tax reform is a massive downsizing of government.

    58 comments
    Lord Featherston
    10/30/2011

    A national sales tax is a very bad idea. Avoidance (and cheating) on state sales taxes is rampant. Huge numbers regularly purchase on the internet and avoid state sales taxes.

    Of course such a tax is enforceable if:

    1) The government has unfettered access to everyone’s credit card information.
    2) US Customs searches more packages from foreign retailers.
    3) The size of the IRS is increased sufficient to police purchases rather than income.
    4) Huge penalties are levied upon anyone caught cheating the sales tax.

    When I found out about Cain’s sales tax proposal I had just made a $250.00 donation two days before. I asked the Cain campaign for a refund, and it appears that they have refused. I shall proceed with a credit card dispute.

    Let me make it clear, in my opinion a reputable campaign would have returned the donation. A disreputable campaign indicates a disreputable candidate.

    Too bad, because none of the other candidates look good to me either. Romney is a RINO, and I absolutely refuse to vote for another GOP liberal.

    I may have to write in Ronald Reagan, the last conservative the GOP has nominated.

    Lord Featherston
    10/30/2011

    A national sales tax is a very bad idea. Avoidance (and cheating) on state sales taxes is rampant. Huge numbers regularly purchase on the internet and avoid state sales taxes.

    Of course such a tax is enforceable if:

    1) The government has unfettered access to everyone’s credit card information.
    2) US Customs searches more packages from foreign retailers.
    3) The size of the IRS is increased sufficient to police purchases rather than income.
    4) Huge penalties are levied upon anyone caught cheating the sales tax.

    When I found out about Cain’s sales tax proposal I had just made a $250.00 donation two days before. I asked the Cain campaign for a refund, and it appears that they have refused. I shall proceed with a credit card dispute.

    Let me make it clear, in my opinion a reputable campaign would have returned the donation. A disreputable campaign indicates a disreputable candidate.

    Too bad, because none of the other candidates look good to me either. Romney is a RINO, and I absolutely refuse to vote for another GOP liberal.

    I may have to write in Ronald Reagan, the last conservative the GOP has nominated.

    Lulina Rineaux
    10/20/2011

    Herman Cain will eventually make the rich even richer and the poor even poorer. Many people cannot afford to pay such high tax rates and still be able to care for their families. I do agree that people are the master of their own destiny but some people need a break. This simple flat tax is not a way for the government to get out of debt or is not a way to stimulate the economy. If forcing people to pay extreme taxes is the way he wants to go then why not suck out the billions of dollars many corporations generate then hide in miscellaneous accounts overseas. Taxing the poor will not generate nearly as much tax revenue as taxing corporations. Even some billionaires like Warren Buffet said that his secretary that makes substantially less than he does pays more taxes than he does. That is not right.

    Alan Clark
    10/15/2011

    Another "Ugly" is the proposed model for corporate tax. This does not seem to consider the fact that software and services companies' highest expense is employee payroll. A tax based on revenue minus purchases would mean that a software company would pay tax on its revenue and not on net profit. Unless the software/services company is highly profitable the net effect would be to force a reduction in payroll expenses of 9% or an increase in prices.

    We all worry about the outsourcing of jobs to India, China and other countries however many don't realize that a large proportion of these are software and services jobs. Cain's 999 plan would, in my opinion, make the US a much worse environment for software companies. We are all aware that our lives are now heavily dependant on software - even laundry and kitchen appliances are "smart" and smart phones, pads and computers are a growing part of our daily lives; it makes absolutely no sense to encourage software companies to migrate overseas.

    Craig Whitney
    10/17/2011

    Mr. Clark, I fail to understand how you came to these assumptions....on a "services" company, the tax is calculated the same way it is now....
    Corporate income tax source is Revenue minus Expenses. That is the figure that is used today, that is the figure that would continue to be used. Payroll tax is a formula based on current payroll figures. That wouldn't change...the income hasn't changed so the payroll tax "source" wouldn't change....what would change is the corporate income tax would be a static 9% of "Revenue minus Expenses" (instead of what it is now....30%, 35%?), 9% of payroll tax "source" (instead of the 15-18% it normally is now), and a 9% Sales tax on any "Bill for Services" or "item sold"....So what this tells me is the fundamental tax burden on any corporation would go WAY down....this should in turn allow the "service" or "item" to be sold at a cheaper price point to the consumer (who would also be getting more back in their paychecks due to the lower income/payroll taxes)...

    CarMan CarMan
    10/15/2011

    Good article by Mr. Clancey. The 999 Plan as indicated has holes and the Fair Tax is even worse.
    Let me ‘float’ something new here. A ‘comprehensive’ ‘Bulk Energy’ Tax. Just call it Energy Tax for short. Any bulk energy provider or producer is where the tax would be applied.
    - Tax oil at the well head or the oil tanker.
    - Tax natural gas at the well head or the tanker or the pipeline.
    - Tax coal at the coal mine or at the railcar.
    - Tax electric at the production facility, atomic, oil / gas and hydro based.
    (Do not double tax coal fired electric)
    - Tax wind turbines/ farms and solar cells / farms at the producer. That wire is metered when it connects to the grid.
    GUESS WHAT ?! YOU CANNOT HIDE ANY OF THIS STUFF ! ! !
    Additionally, this is a PASS-THROUGH TAX at the provider level. The provider raises his Cost of Goods produced and passes it onto the nest user. The provider has little motivation to try to cheat. NOT TO MENTION HOW COSTLY IT WOULD BE IF THEY WRE CAUGHT. Once the tax is collected, the invisible hand distributes it ‘downstream’ to every follow-on user / consumer.
    In a modern culture / country EVERYTHING consumes energy to produce it. Nothing can escape this tax. It is applied at the producer level and passed through to the end-user. It matters not weather the end-user is a commercial or residential / individual user.
    Unless you are living in a hand made log cabin, this tax will be embedded in everything. But even in your log cabin, that ax head you bought before you defected from society still will have some tax embedded in it. VERTUALLY NOTHING AND NO ONE ESCAPES THE TAX !
    Before everyone goes crazy, there small are exceptions that need to be addressed. I will attempt to do so in later posts. Lets get on with the basics.
    First and foremost, we eliminate the IRS from our individual daily lives for good. - NO QUARTERLIES, NO ANNUALS, NO AUDITS,
    - HOPEFULLY WE END THE EVER CONSTANT IDIOTIC POLITICIAN TAX LEGISLATION.
    - NO MORE OF THEM KEEPING TRACK OF ME. THEY WILL NOT EXIST !
    - - THEY WILL NOT HAVE MY NAME, MY ADDRESS, MY INCOME, MY EMPLOYER, MY FAMILY SIZE, MY MARITIAL STATUS, ON AND ON AND ON !!!
    - A small agency of ‘tax revenuers’ could manage the tax collection at the ‘energy producer/ provider’ level very efficiently. Probably less than 50,000 agents could manage the verification and collection for the entire country.
    - In an advanced society everything consumes energy.
    - - Food production and transport, not only the milk but also the container.
    - - Everything in the ‘big box’ store or the mall requires energy for manufacture and distribution
    - - The asphalt in the street used both energy and petroleum feedstock for both manufacture and installation.
    - - Every house and factory and roadway built requires energy to make everything that goes into them; steel beams, timbers, concrete, parking lots and landscaping.
    - - Everything that travels uses transportation energy, trucks, trains, and planes.
    - - Everything you touch made of plastic uses both energy and petroleum or natural gas feedstock for manufacture.
    - ONE BIG CAVEAT, imported goods have to be assessed and charged an equal energy tax. CAN WE GET OUR FOREIGN INVESTED POLITICIANS TO ALLOW THAT ??!! (They are all crooks, with foreign bank accounts) (Don’t get me started on foreign trade. It has been applied so crookedly ! )
    Benefits. I think you have already seen the benefits as you read between the lines.
    Here they are again:
    - Eliminates a hugely expensive government agency.
    - Eliminates a huge cultural / societal inefficiency
    - Free up at least a million people for productive work.
    - - CURRENTLY ALL THESE PEOPLE CONSUME A LOT AND ARE WELL PAID BUT PRODUCE ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! , NOTHING ! ! ! ! ! ! ! THEY COST US PLENTY !
    - Reduces the army of ‘Financial Products’ providers. WILL SOMEONE PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHEN YOU FIND THE ‘PRODUCTIVITY’ IN A FINANCIAL PRODUCT ! ! ! Bunch of %^#$*@#$ scum. You may know one of these people, and they might be a nice person, BUT THEY DON’T PROVIDE ANY BENEFIT TO THE SOCIETY ! ! !
    - The tax is easily and efficiently administered.
    - It is hard to escape it and hard to commit a fraud against it
    - Auditing it is easy. The production levels and patterns are well established.
    - When a first level producer or user closes a facility, when we confirm that the facility is closed, simple enough, no more revenue collected at that location.
    Please don’t comment about your utilities at your house, or the gas for your car, or your unique business needs. There is no more income tax and you will have extra money. Your account expenses will also be greatly reduced or even eliminated. Everyone one in America except the homeless (courtesy of so called free trade) have these same bills. The invisible hand will do its thing and make the economic adjustments, i.e., changes to costs and prices.
    For the most part I am as conservative as the millenium is long. I have a Finance Degree but never went into the line of work. (I hesitate to call it a profession). And for 25 years I read all the business publications cover-to-cover. That qualifies me as, ‘at least as smart as an economist’ and /or a hurricane forcaster !! They both have about the same accuracy. Wall street and all the top CEOs are relatively a bunch of liars. On CNBC, most of them have bought the Larry Kudlow free trade Kool-Aid. Only MARK HANES and JOE seem to have any common sense left regarding how to run an economic system. Congrats to both of them !
    Thoughts for the day:
    - CLASS WARFARE: That is what the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has done at the national level. They are the leading private organization for teaching the 'Biggest of the Big' how to outsource labor, move plants overseas, and use 'illegals' in America. I have never once seen them on TV say a good word for American labor or producing goods in America.
    - Wall Street accounting is all driven by tax code and shifty -eyed cleverness. In true accounting there is only one thing, Assets = Owners Equity - Liabilities. The Income Statement flows into the Balance Sheet. If you think you cannot understand this stuff, it is because the crooks that help write the code for the crooks that ;use the code, manufacture all types of artificiallities. It is all createed by man-made 'artificial declarations' per the tax code. Also from there, Wall street creates more fake entities to weave their way around a tax code if they didn't help to create it to begin with.
    - Do the rich people really create all the wealth? Listening to Rush and Hannity, that is what one would think ! I got news for you, when I go to work for someone else ,i.e., for wages, I also spend my day creating wealth !!! If I and my co-workers did not create wealth, our employers would be out of work !!!
    - After 30 years of so called free trade, do you think we are better off? Not hardly ! Our tax base has been ruined because all the jobs have gone over seas. They do not tax the intermodal containers / foreign products as they should. A hammer from China over here costs $10-15 to buy it, it cost less than a $1 to produce it in China. A jacket that cost $3-5 to produce in China cost $30-50 to purchase over here. WE ARE GETTING SCREWED DAILY BY OUR POLITICIANS AND CHINA !!! Tractor Supply Corp (TSC), good 0ld fashioned All-American Midwest right? Nope, 90-95% China inside. We have been turned into 4th level retailers for China. At the 4th level you don't create much wealth and consequently don't get paid much.
    - Ponder this. The only definition of Capitalism is, Maximize Return on Investment. Anything anyone else tries to add onto that, is crap !!! Capitalism was not ordained by God and it has flaws, plenty of them. Capitalism as most Americans really want it means you have got to have a Fair Policeman (govt) on the Beat. Finding a Fair Gevernment has become the problem. Unpoliced capitalism: Love Canal, no workplace health and safety, pre FAA aviation crashes, pre NTSB railroad crashes, waterways polluted beyond usability and in some cases on fire, on and on. I am not a big fan of the crazy EPA. But becareful what kind of capitalism you wish for.

    Alrighty then, HIT ME !
    CarMan

    Wayne Matthews
    10/13/2011

    https://www.hermancain.com/999plan

    I have read the 999 plan.

    A few question:
    Will all SS income be taxed? Will people on SS be exempt from sales tax? How about the unemployed? Exactly what is subject to the sales tax? 
    Food? 
    Health care? 
    Insurance?:
    Basic services?
    Utilities? 
    Haircuts? 
    I can think of a lot of other things. 

    Would he really tax the cost of a new home or stocks and bonds? Housing would end and we all would be investing in another country. 
    I checked and there are no official comments from the AARP yet but this will not fly with seniors or most low income people. 
    As usual, the devil is in the details but there's a lot of devil in no details.
    I sent him an email about this and a lot of other things but was also critical of his stance on the Fed. I still can't believe he made that comment about Greenspan.
    He is going to lose his momentum if he doesn't provide more details soon. In the meantime, comments that are critical of the plan are probably premature. Everyone is just guessing.

    Craig Whitney
    10/17/2011

    Okay Mr. Hernandez, what then would you consider a "fair" tax to be? If it isn't the same for everyone across the board then what is "fair" about it? I don't trust any politicians either, but given the choice, going with something that is moving towards the structure in www.fairtax.org is leaps and bounds better than our current system. My guess is you don't want something "fair" in the first place.

    Rocky Hernandez
    10/15/2011

    Craig Whitney I think for myself and I don't need a Republican, Democrat, Tea Party, Libertarian Party, news channel, and/or a potential or current President shoving his "Change" on one side of the spectrum or his "9-9-9" on the other to tell me what to think or how to think. I don't think this is a "Fair" tax and I I don't believe any of what you or Keith Garza said will actually happen. The more I think about it the more I feel this is a harmful potentially dangerous thing for America. And, I don't trust it coming from Herman Cain and I wouldn't trust it coming from Obama either ( I do believe that if this plan had come from Obama alot of supporters of Herman Cain would not support it either.). And they say 9-9-9 now but with every tax law in America sooner or later it will become 10-10-10 and then 15-15-15. Amongst other problems I see with this plan I just don't think that it is right despite what you and Keith say about it the more I think about it the more of a loaded gun it becomes against middle class America and the working poor-which is me and my family. And I want no parts of it.

    Keith Garza
    10/14/2011

    And Rocky Hernandez think about it the payroll tax's are around 15%-18% right now. So say right now you get 15% taking out of your paycheck now. That will go to 9%. So now you have 6% more paycheck! Then you want to buy a new car. The cost of the car is $20,000 today. Then there is 6% state sales tax.The car is $21,200. That is with the 35% business in the car now. Under the 9-9-9 plan the business tax is 9% that is 26% less. So lets just say the cost comes down 20%. The price is now $16,000 plus the 9% fed sales tax is $17440 Plus the 6% state tax comes to $18486! And remember you still are getting 6% more in your pay! How you like that! :)

    Keith Garza
    10/14/2011

    You are spot on Craig! The goods you buy will cost about the same or less with the 9-9-9 plan. And the best part is no tax on used goods just on new goods. That way goods get taxed when they are new. If you sell it to another person the tax you payed is in your selling price. Tax is paid 1 time! And you are right that this is the Fed. tax. The state tax's will be up to each state as they are now.

    Craig Whitney
    10/14/2011

    Sorry, I had a typo in my math calculation (reduction would actually be 26% instead of 21%, which is even more of a discount....if those figures are indeed correct)

    Craig Whitney
    10/14/2011

    Rocky Hernandez, go to www.fairtax.org and actually read a little about how a "fair" tax works.

    "Houses and cars are the biggest ticket items people buy and I don't think having a state sales tax on top of a federal sales tax is a good idea-only rich people would be able to afford either a new house or car".

    That is a complete crap statement. If you understood how the fair tax works you would be able to see that the "car" that cost you $20,000 today, under the "fair tax" system, or in this case the "9,9,9" (due to the loss of corporate taxes, payroll taxes, etc...) Would only cost you $15,800. Add to that your 19.6 percent total tax (9 percent national sales, 6 percent state, 4.6 percent city) and it adds up to just under $18,900...which is CHEAPER than just staying with the current system (this is assuming Keith Garzas 35% business tax is what is passed on to the consumer by the automobile companies, in reality it may be less or more than this)

    Simple math shows you that if the figures you are Mr. Garzas are throwing around are accurate you would save $3220 on the purchase of that car....since you'd still have to pay the 6% state and 4.6% city tax if you purchased it at $20,000.

    These figures assume that the companies themselves would offset their sticker prices by the same amount of their tax burden reduction....in this case 21% (35% - 9%)....

    It's not exactly the same scenario for homes, since their price is a fluctuation according to a human perceived "value" for a home. However, there is nothing to indicate that home prices themselves wouldn't come down to offset the additional 9% sales tax.

    This is the problem with people such as yourself, following a partyline or what you seen/heard on cnn/nbc/fox/abc etc.. without actually looking at what the "fair tax" methodology actually does. You immediately jump on "What about fixed income people"...in reality they are no worse off than they are now, and in many cases are better off.

    Rocky Hernandez
    10/13/2011

    Keith Garza I would like to know what about State Tax? Only, one person has given me an answer in regards to that issue. How is the 999 plan going to affect the state tax and sales tax in their state that they already pay. Houses and cars are the biggest ticket items people buy and I don't think having a state sales tax on top of a federal sales tax is a good idea-only rich people would be able to afford either a new house or car and I beleive those industries would suffer greatly. And where do the taxes stop? Can we be sure it will stay at 999? What happens if the government decides to raise it to 10,10,10 or 15,15,15. I think it is extremely dangerous and very unconservative for this ever to be passed into law in America. It seems to me that the Tea Party and Conservatives have become so desperate for a Conservative President that they are buying the stuff that they are supposed to be against as long as it has a catchy phrase and comes from one that claims to be the total opposit of Obama. I say NONE, NONE, NONE.

    Keith Garza
    10/13/2011

    It is not a tax on top of the tax's we are paying now. The 9-9-9 plan throws out the tax code we have now and replaces it. The business tax is 35% now. That 35% is added into everything we buy including food and health care. With the 9-9-9 plan it will be 9% so the cost of things will go down! Then we will pay a 9% sales tax. And that is only be on new goods. So if you buy a new car you pay the 9% tax. Buy a car1-3 years old on tax! People on SS pay no personal tax at all! Also no capitol gains tax and no death tax. If we did go to a 9% business would flood into the United States. This would be the best place in the world to open a business. And with no capitol gains tax that 12-14 trillion that is sitting in of shore accounts would come back to our stock exchange almost over night! I think it is a grate plan. :)

    Joan Cronemeyer Malueg
    10/13/2011

    I like Mr. Cain's 9-9-9 idea of how to change the tax system. I believe that NOT taxing essential items like food, medicine, health care, and other specific items will not put a burden on the less financially fortunate. I also believe that luxury items should have an excise tax above a 9% sales tax (amount to be determined). I have always thought that those who can afford to spend money on non-essential items should be the ones paying the taxes. We may not like an increase in federal sales tax, but it's something we can deal with if we aren't hit with income taxes.
    I also believe that property taxes should be abolished. It is a highly-unfair method of burdening businesses (especially self-employed) when others don't have that burden. It hurts those who must depend on government controls for how much they are paid for what they do (like dairy farmers).

    Maxine Saitta
    10/13/2011

    Will someone please question the 999 plan as it relates to retired persons who are living on pensions and social security with modest dividends
    We have no payroll taxes to eliminate, no capital gains, no business taxes
    So we are to pay 9% on pensions and social security minus charitable donations??
    Plus a 9% sales tax. I live in NJ, so that's an additional 9% on top of the 7%.
    Who's crazy here?? I have written to Herman Cain with these questions.....no response....except a request for a donation.
    I am a right -wing republican and I would vote for Obama before anyone who pushes this 999 plan.

    Rocky Hernandez
    10/12/2011

    My only question is (and I really hope someone can answer this for me) is what about my current State sales tax? If Herman Cain becomes President will the 999 plan be added on top of my States sales tax? And, my city tax as well? I live in Philadelphia, PA and the state tax is 6% and the city wage tax is 4.6%. Will the 9% be added on top of that? Because that will be more like me paying 19.6% and I don't make alot of money and I don't believe that I should have to get a second job or go back to school for a higher paying job to earn more money to cover my taxes. And, I don't believe that any State or local municipality is going to give up its right to taxes for the Federal 999 plan. Also, what about the auto and housing industry-wouldn't the State tax on top of the 999 plan tax hurt those industries? I know Mr. Cain said that if you buy a used car or home you wouldn't be taxed, but if you have to pay both 6% PA State tax and the 999 Federal sales tax I don't think anyone but the rich would buy new homes and/or cars. What happend to the Taxed Enough Already Party?

    Rocky Hernandez
    10/12/2011

    I also have one more question. I know it has been said that it would take 2/3 of the Senate to raise the tax, but if you have a majority party in Washington like Obama did pre 2010. And, most party members vote along party lines-which is a possibility in 2012 if a Republican is elected. What would prevent the 999 plan from becoming the 10,10,10 plan or the 15,15,15 plan? I just don't understand it and it sounds very dangerous to me-particularly when politicians always make promises before they are elected and do the total opposite of what they said after they are elected; both Republicans and Democrats are guilty of that-remember "...read my lips no new taxes"? I hope someone can answer my questions.

    William Way Jr.
    10/12/2011

    It is time for economic leadership in Washington that makes sense. The entire mental infrastructure of Washington DC has endorsed the foolish theories of Keynes. If they studied just a little bit, only a little, they would recognize that Keynes never believed that his theories would work to sustain a society. He was all about disrupting civilization. Sadly, Barack Obama is so socially challenged by never having really worked in his entire life that he believes in the silly Keynesian theories as if they were relevant to real economic problems.

    The nation needs serious changes in its whole economic structure if it is to recover from the ignorant Keynesian theories of the past 65 years. New leadership is needed, not tricks used by former governors to delude the people into believing they had realistic economic plans in their states.

    Here are THE seven steps necessary to fix the United States economy. Serious leaders will embrace them.

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    Stop printing money. Close the Bureau of Engraving and Printing for two years, effective January 9, 2012.
    Eliminate the Federal Reserve’s ability to manipulate the supply of money, but not necessarily to act as a central banking system.
    Establish an op-in privatized retirement system that phases in over fifteen years. Social Security ends after fifteen years (This plan assures a greater retirement benefit than a lifetime Social Security program, without injuring current retirees.
    Reinstate a commodity-based monetary system where the dollar is tied to the overall value of dedicated retirement funds.
    Offset the assault on the dollar by foreign nations and Wall Street currency speculators by stipulating that the US will repay all foreign debt only at the prevailing value of the dollar when payments are made.
    Institute a four year plan to convert to a consumption tax on all goods and services except medical expenses. This should be capped at national rate 14%.
    Shut down the IRS and transfer tax collection and disbursement duties to the states, which are already doing the work.

    Fear mongers and socialistic minded candidates will declare it won’t work. That is fear tactics intended to deceive voters into maintaining a failed system.

    The future of America’s and the world’s economy rest on these actions. Anything less will inevitably lead to economic collapse worldwide. When a nation’s economy fails all security within that nation fails also.

    The time for leadership is NOW!

    Joey Antal
    10/30/2011

    Ok John Macintosh you little boy, I’m tired of reading your ignorant posts. OK we get it YOU read one Econ book in school and now you are a genius. There is an intelligent back and forth going on here between educated MEN. There is no need to attack anyone, you may attack an idea. If you want someone to listen to you maybe don't talk out of both sides of your mouth. I read all of your post and it seems you want BIG government, but somehow want to tax the poor/lower-middle class less than they are being taxed now. Under the current tax code about 47%, mostly lower income families, have no federal tax liability. I don't think they can pay much less than that. I think maybe YOU SHOULD be allowed to pay fewer taxes though, maybe then you could put the money you save too good use and buy a dictionary so you can learn how to spell correctly.
    I think you need to go occupy somewhere because your thoughts are about as organized as the OWS supporters are.

    john macintosh
    10/18/2011

    wow you truly are an idiot. Take away the federal reserves ability to control currency? GET EDUCATED ON ECONOMICS PEOPLE!!!! That would DESTROY the united states. Look at argentina their currency went through ridiculous amounts of inflation a couple years back because they didn't have anyone controlling their currency. Your money would be worthless if the feds were not controlling currency. If you want to learn real economics instead of that hogwash stuff that you say to pretend like what you know what your talking about read naked economics I used it when I was doing my course work to get my degree in economics. I cant believe how stupid some people are you read an article written by someone like this and you pretend to know what you are talking about. All of the other points you made were false too by the way im just getting tired of trying to educate all of you people.

    Wayne Matthews
    10/18/2011

    Aside from the many obvious flaws, Cain's 999 plan would require at least two Constitutional amendments but no one mentions that,

    Even as written, it violates the 10th Amendment:

    The 10th amendment gives the states any powers not specified in the Constitution so only the states are allowed to impose sales taxes.

    Ron Paul just proposed the most realistic plan I have ever seen. For those of you who are interested in true change, then read this which has ALL of the details, something no one else would dare post.

    http://c3244172.r72.cf0.rackcdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/RestoreAm...

    If you really want to see a solution to our economic woes, then Paul has one.

    No true Constitutional Conservative should find fault in it. It will be interesting to see how the other candidates respond. I think they will show their true colors. LOL.

    Paul may not win the nomination, but enough votes for him in the primaries might influence the Republican platform. The party will need the votes of his followers so maybe they will make a deal and give him a cabinet position or appoint him as Chairman of the FED so he can abolish it. LOL.

    A vote for Ron Paul may be your last chance to restore American to the Constitution. As I keep saying, he doesn't have to get the nomination to make a difference but we do want him in our government.

    Otherwise, you are voting for the lesser of two evils. One hastens our demise and the other only prolongs the agony, so there is an argument for 4 more years of Obama. He can bring us to our knees and get it over it.

    Prior Walter
    10/12/2011

    So, you sheeple want this tax? like the idea? Guess you haven't read the small part where he wants to do away with social programs. Some of THE most successful programs ANYWHERE. this is pretty shocking. But nonetheless, not so much thanks to the tea baggers. You people are something else.

    Dean Clancy's picture
    Dean Clancy
    10/12/2011

    Thanks to all for their comments, even the insulting and dismissive ones. I've carefully tried to read all of the criticisms, and have duly corrected a couple of inaccuracies in my post; but I find that in general the post was and remains pretty darn accurate in its characterizations regarding both the FairTax and Cain's 999 variant thereof. I suspect some of the piece's critics may not have read it closely enough, or all the way to the end.

    Denise Jensen
    10/12/2011

    The poor being the fastest growing segment of the population, it's SCARY to contemplate Cain's 9% sales tax on top of the 5.1% we pay here in WI, and I know a lot of states' sales taxes(and don't forget county and city taxes) are much higher. NO mention of any pre-bate OR exemptions for food or meds (although the Fair Tax does have them) This plan is like a half-built bridge, it doesn't get there. We could easily end up with a Nat'l sales tax, income tax,payroll tax and no limit to how high they go.

    david mahuika
    10/20/2011

    You guys crack me up. Why not double military spending and a 5% flat tax. We may have two and half trillion annual budgets but who cares right? It would be so ideologically pure until we go bankrupt in a few years and then you will get your dream, collapse of government. Then see what real poverty and violence is.

    Dean Clancy's picture
    Dean Clancy
    10/12/2011

    Thanks to all for their comments, even the insulting and dismissive ones. I've carefully tried to read all of the criticisms, and have duly corrected a couple of inaccuracies in my post; but I find that in general the post was and remains pretty darn accurate in its characterizations regarding both the FairTax and Cain's 999 variant thereof. I suspect some of the piece's critics may not have read it closely enough, or all the way to the end.

    chris smith
    10/12/2011

    Mr. Clancy seems very confused. All of his alleged problems are distorted and can be answered here: http://www.fairtax.org/site/PageServer?pagename=about_fairtax_four#regre...

    Maybe Mr. Clancy should learn to research before opening his mouth, with inaccurate ramblings.

    Chris Westbay
    10/10/2011

    Good, well thought out article. The assessment of the 9-9-9 plan is fair. As of now, Mr. Cain has earned my support, but I too have some of the same apprehensions about the 9-9-9 plan - namely having both an income and a sales tax occurring at the same time. I agree that the constitution needs to be ammended to repeal the 16th ammendment outright and the Fair Tax should be implemented. Mr. Clancy is correct about the sales tax rate needing to be around 25% ( The Fair Tax Act introduced by former Congressman John Linder and explained in "The Fair Tax Book" by Neal Boortz and Former Congressman Linder (HarperCollins 2005) has a rate of 23%) When Mr. Clancy states that we would be paying this on top of what we pay now for a product, he has left out the fact that approximately 22% of what we currently pay for a product goes toward the income taxes of the retailer, wholesaler, and manufacturer of said product (businesses and corporations do not really pay taxes - that cost is passed on to the consumer). In other words, if a product costs $100.00, $22.00 dollars of that is for the "corporate" taxes. When these taxes are eliminated, the consumer would only have to pay $78.00 for the same product. This $78.00 would be the price upon which the Fair Tax would be based. (For those who say the "greedy" corporations would keep the price at $100.00 anyways, I would submit to you that some might try, but the competition of the market would win out in the end)

    So let's use Mr. Clancy's figure of 25%. 25% of $78.00 is $19.50. So the price of the product with the Fair Tax would actually be $97.50 so you would be paying $2.50 less than you are currently paying for said product.

    Mr. Clancy also mentioned the 'prebate', however he is not quite correct with the intention of the prebate. He is correct in that it would be checks issued monthly to every household, based upon the number of people within that household and not the income of that household. A family of four with a million dollar annual income would receive the same prebate amount as a family of four making $20,000 annual income. But the prebate is not to prevent poverty, as Mr. Clancy states in his fourth footnote, it is to offset the taxes that would be paid on products that are not currently taxed - the vitals that are mentioned at the end of the first footnote..

    Another important aspect of the Fair Tax to consider that it the fact that with the elimination of the Income Tax, everyone's paycheck gets bigger. All federal withholdings would be eliminated leaving only state and local taxes where applicable. Any other withholding would be those of your choice for benefits such as insurance and 401K. I can't speak for anyone else, but I would love to be able to have the additional take home income.

    As I mentioned earlier, the 16th ammendment needs to be repealed. This also is part of the Fair Tax act. As the act stands now, if it would ever be passed, Congress would be required to repeal the 16th ammendment. This would ensure that both would not be in place at the same time.

    I mention all of this because this is Mr. Cain's ultimate goal. He has been an avid supporter of the Fair Tax since it's inception. If you have had the pleasure of listening to him on the radio for any amount of time, you have probably heard him mention and explain it many times. However, I believe that he is realistic enough to know that this is a very ambitious goal for anyone in his current position, so he introduced his 9-9-9 plan as a stepping stone. This gives us what he thinks is the best of both worlds, and in doing so, sets the table to eventually implement the Fair Tax fully, and in the words of Neal Boortz, make "April 15 just another beautiful spring day."

    Mr. Clancy brings up some legitimate concerns, and there is no plan that is immune from being screwed up once congress gets its hands on it. However, he leaves out imporant aspects to make his points. 9-9-9 is not perfect, neither is the Fair Tax, but both are better than what we have and what we have now, if only for the simplicity. Also, with the exception of Newt Gingrich's new contract, it is the most specific plan that any of the candidates have put on the table.

    If you need any other clarifications of the Fair Tax, I would encourage you to read "The Fair Tax Book", "The Fair Tax - The Truth" (Also by Boortz & Linder) or visit Fairtax.org. These sources are very easy to read & understand and they bring up and answer many of the arguments against them.

    john macintosh
    10/18/2011

    Where will the government get money from then? I don't think any of you understand how much the government helps us, it protects our businesses subsidizes goods such as corn and sugar so that someone will produce them and it helps emerging fields such as green energy. It enforces the copyright laws which make it possible for people to create new products, it protects small businesses, trys to limit poverty, it keeps monopolies from occurring and businesses charging too much for products and services, it keeps YOU safe, it educated you and your family, it helps with medical expenses, helps you during disasters, it promotes trade, and i helps keep you safe from foreign powers. Already the government is borrowing money to do this with the tax system me have and you want them not to do one of these thing? just so you can get a few extra dollars? Are you kidding me? Read a non bias not political book on economics and talk to me when you are done. You don't understand how the US government and economics works so how can you have an opinion on it?

    Mike LaFLeur
    10/13/2011

    "You want to pay something like 15+% on a new car just in sales tax?"

    The price of the car will be lower by ~22% to begin with because the auto companies won't have to account for the taxes they have to pay. And if you think they will keep the prices high to pocket the profit; think again. Given any chance to lower a price to make themselves more competitive not only against other American auto companies, but imports, they'll do it.

    If you had a company and could lower you price to undercut the competition and still make the same profit, you'd do it.

    Prior Walter
    10/12/2011

    You want to pay something like 15+% on a new car just in sales tax? Wow. You want to ruin the American car industry.... vote for this idiot and his disastrous ideas. 9% PLUS the regular state tax? Buy a $40K car and just instantly tack on $6,000 to it? Vote for this goof ball. The fact is, his insane ideas won't fly. Romney is going to be the tea bag candidate. He's Mormon, and we all know baggers hate anyone but their own red neck type. Obama will prevail for another 4 years. But it will be a FUN 13 months before the election. Obama will destroy any current Republican candidate in a face-to-face debate. Cannot wait. Prepare to wet yourself tea baggers.

    Texas Antimedia
    10/12/2011

    Apparently the writer doesn't understand the difference between a sales tax and a VAT.

    A sales tax collects taxes at the point of sale - the end of a long chain of transactions that begins with raw materials and ends with a product purchased from a retailer.

    A VAT collect taxes at every point where value is added; from the production of raw materials to the manufacturing of the product, to the delivery to the retailer and finally at the point of purchase. It is vastly more complex and costly than a simple sales tax, requiring accounting chains throughout the process to account for all the value added and deduct from taxes previously paid. Any time a governmental process is made to be complex, it, by design, provides for corruption and manipulation of the markets.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VAT

    I fail to see how a national sales tax could open the door to a VAT any more than a Congressperson simply introducing a bill to implement a VAT.

    As far as the criticism of the 999 plan goes, it's off base. Everyone who earns income, regardless of how poor they are, is paying 7.5% of their income to the so-called Social Security fund (which is really a flat tax that hurts the poor more than the rich because of the cap). So the sales tax would only be 1.5% more than they are already paying. However, their employers ALSO pay 7.5% (and if you're self-employed, you pay the entire 15%) If employers no longer have to pay 7.5% of their employees income to the federal government, do you think they're going to spend all of it? Or share some of it with their employees by raising their pay by say 2% or even 3%?

    While it's true that almost half the nation pays no INCOME tax, it is NOT true that they pay no taxes on their incomes.

    Cain has said repeatedly that his 999 plan is revenue neutral. I encourage readers to read this analysis of the plan to get an opposing view. http://axdwhiteman.info/index.php/component/content/article/102-can-herm...

    The REAL solution to the tax problem is to remove all incentives, deductions and special privileges. Get the government out of the business of choosing winners and losers and make the game transparent.

    Personally I favor repealing ALL corporate taxes. Corporations are in the business of making money. Every penny of tax they pay is passed on to the consumers and the taxpayers through higher prices. Of course, that idea doesn't have a change in hell of passing so long as Americans fall for the demagoguery of "fairness".

    Amy R. Eldred
    10/09/2011

    Your article is flawed...Cain has said in EVERY INTERVIEW AND SPEECH: "He will abolish the current tax system."

    Listen first before you start to slam ideas! DO YOUR HOMEWORK.

    Dean Clancy's picture
    Dean Clancy
    10/10/2011

    Hi, Greg. I oppose a VAT, period. I don't oppose a national retail sales tax in principle, but I do strongly oppose it as a practical matter under current conditions, because of its high likelihood of morphing into a VAT. I could support "999" after or contingent upon ratification of a constitutional amendment outlawing a VAT (and preferably also outlawing income and payroll taxes).

    Greg Scandlen
    10/10/2011

    Dean,

    It seems what you are objecting to is what might -- or might not -- happen next -- the Fair Tax, a VAT tax. But do you have any objection to Cain's actual proposal? I don't think it is legitimate to argue we can't do X because Y might happen. Y might always happen whether or not we have X. The real question is whether X is any good.

    Vince Granacher
    10/07/2011

    I believe Mr. Clancy is creating a fear of the 999 plan before he knows all the details. Mr. Cain has said that he wants written into the legislation for his 999 plan a provision that requires a two-thirds majority to change the rate.

    Regarding a national sales tax changing to a VAT, that would depend on how the legislation is written. We the people can vote out anyone who would try to change the fair tax to a VAT.

    Regarding the fair tax hurting the poor, Mr.Clancy neglected to mention the part of the fair tax proposal that provides a prebate check every month to every tax payer that reimburses the national sales tax in an amount equal to the tax that would be paid for goods consumed by someone at or below the poverty level. To understand how the fair tax works, visit fairtax.org and review the proposal for yourself. That way you will be able to form an intelligent conclusion rather that creating fear like Mr. Clancy did with his editorial that the poor will be hurt. I would also encourage Mr. Clancy to read up on all the facts before creating this same fear in the American people.

    Michael Micelli
    10/07/2011

    I like the 999 plan. Keep it simple, it's fair and would cost less to enforse compared to our current system. Maybe it should have a provision that the three taxes could never be raised. This would forse cuts in spending if the three taxes don't generate enough income. The other nice thing is when the government needs more money all they have to do is figure out how to boost the economy. Too many people make income without reporting it, but they love to spend. It's time to be fair.

    john macintosh
    10/18/2011

    WHAT. GOVERNMENT SHOULDN'T BE IN BUISNESS!! ARE YOU STUIPID!! If the government was not involved in business there would be no copy right law no patent. No one would want to invent something because as soon as they did their idea would get stolen and they would not make money. If government was not involved corporations would form monopolies and charge through the roof prices on things like electricity, cellphone service, computers, the list goes on. Also if you want more government cuts don't complain if the roads in front of your house don't get repaired . Your childrens education declines and they are not able to compete with foreign workers. don't complane when your retirement fund goes away. No new things would be invented because new products would be unable to get off the ground without subsidies, you wouldn't expect to buy anything with sugar or corn in it because the government is the only reason why its profitable for a business to sell either of those products. If your asking the government to get out of business you are asking the US economy to collapse. Another thing that most people don't realize is that the stock market is based solely off of how people think a company will do. So the best thing to do when the stock market crashes is just to assure everyone that it will get better and it will but if people think it will get worse it will. All that is needed for the recession to end is for everyone to coninue spending money. Literally if everyone had continued spending money as if nothing had happened there would be no recession. Please before you talk economics go learn it first I suggest reading Naked economics it is a good introductory economics book. Also I disagree with your advise you should watch the news but watch multiple news channels many websites give false information while on news each station is extremely bias but if you watch multiple with different view points you will be fine. An example of bad websites is there is a site about how people think china will buy Iowa.... That has to be the STUIPIDEST thing I have ever heard in my life HAHAHAHAHA. To think some people would believe it... well it just goes to show people love to be told to think a certain way and they blindly follow that way without seriously looking at the other possibilities.

    Andrew Pearson
    10/07/2011

    I don't know Mr. Dean Clancy, but he has cleverly begun his article by praising Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Plan, before morphing it into a hit piece.

    It isn't necessary for me to delve into the problems with Mr. Clancy's opinion, since MajorMikeSmith and Barrett.I.Corrigan have already done that quite well.

    Mr. Clancy's conclusion is false, and his article is obviously driven by his personal agenda. Ignore it.

    Tom Gervasi
    10/06/2011

    I support the 999. I'm not sure I understand the Flat Tax/Fair Tax argument now that I read this critique of the plan. It seems to be contradictory.

    There is a fear illustrated here that we would be adding a national sales tax, and essentially giving the Federal government another tax power. And a fear that this will somehow slip into the VAT if, as Madison said "enlightened statesmen" were not at the "helm".

    But isn't the whole Fair/Flat Tax idea about getting a national sales tax in the first place, so that the other taxes can be eliminated? So how can we on one hand advocate a Fair/Flat tax which is a sales tax, and at the same time get all jumpy when a plan is proposed with a national sales tax included?

    Is it more responsible to ween the country off of the income tax, or radically change it overnight (which is politically impossible by the way)? I'd say the former.

    I do not see the framework for a European VAT in the 999, I actually see the framework of a transition to a fair or flat tax.

    jim.ogborn
    10/29/2011

    This post is funny. Is it fair to tax the poor the same amount as the rich? Actually, I think the poor should pay more. They use more government services and have little incentive if any to stop being poor. The rich (at least the majority of them) have EARNED what they have, taken risks to get where they are, employ many of the people who have jobs in the country, and have taken advantage of the OPPORTUNITIES afforded to them by the US economic model. So they should be punished with higher taxes to pay for those who aren't willing to do the work, take the risks and get off of their lazy ass to try to make themselves better? I am sure you will fire back some lame comment about the handicapped or the disabled Vets so I will nip that in the butt by saying that I am generalizing about the poor and there are certainly those who CAN'T do what the rich have done to get there, but the overwhelming majority of those who pay NO taxes now have become leeches on the taxpayer in this country and forcing them to pay AT LEAST their "fair" share for all they get from us who pay taxes to support them is an idea that will benefit everyone. PS-I am one of those middle class guys who is tired of seeing the poor get things they have not earned or even made attempts to earn

    john macintosh
    10/18/2011

    I dont think most of you understand how taxes should work or the purpose of them. Providing a flat tax is anything but fair. Is it fair that you take away the same percentage of money from someone that had many opertunities to become succesful and has 10 houses and an abundence of money as someone that is just barly scraping by because they were injuered serving our country or someone that did not have enough money to pay for college and has to work three jobs in order to survive? the 999 plan would destroy the middle and lower classes the majority of the population while letting the rich off easy. If anything tax the poor less so that they can survive. If the poor dont have extra money who will buy products? Also I believe that everyone should be taxed based on the money over what they are making to live comfortably. How is it in anyway fair that some people are allowed to own mansions while others are homeless? One of the things that makes america a great country is the fact that it gives opertunity to the underprivilaged, many of the poor do not deserve to be poor but just got delt the wrong set of cards so it should be everyones duty as americans to help them. Also how is not income tax a good idea? Where will the goivernment get its money from. The governments job is to protect the people, to provide the services we take for granted to protect us from foreign powers, (no other county has dared attack us because we have such a strong military) , to protect ideas, (copyright laws), to give an equal opertunity to all, to help the less fortunite, and to allow trade between other countries No income tax is not smart at all. Furthermore a higher tax on goods to buy is not smart either. A higher tax onm products would demlish the economy. People would try to buy less because of the higher cost, the black market would rise up offering a way to avoid the high sales tax it would be horrible. To those of you who dont want to pay taxes dont live here go to another country and dont get the same rights or protection that we pay for when we pay taxes and we control when we vote. Also about not wanting to pay for the people that dont pay taxes. If someone is not paying taxes that means that they are not making money which means they are struggling to survive and are not happy, so if u are upset that they dont pay taxes they are probubly upset you make more than them, if you want to live comfortable and benifit from the government,( the richer you are the more impact you have on the government) the higher taxes you pay simple. Also to those against overseas trade please educate yourselves in economics. A good introductory book on the topic is Naked Economics. After you read this then you can talk about economics and stop pretending you know what you are talking about when you actually know nothing on the subject. If you want the truth look at multiple news stations each individual one is bais and twists the story their way if you watch both you can figure out the actual truth and not some hogwash that isnt the full story. If the 999 was fair they would have implimented it a long time ag. It is a horrible idea and would destroy the US economy.

    Valerie Protopapas
    10/14/2011

    First, any demands of perfection are suicidal. Let's face it, NOBODY would be in a position to contend for the nomination if they were a true "outsider." Even Dr. Paul is part of the establishment albeit a maverick. Mr. Cain is outside of the political process but certainly he is not outside of the ruling class or he would not be contending for the nomination at all! That is the place from which all political candidates essentially arise at least on the national level.

    Secondly, any efforts to fix our grossly messed up tax situation is going to be messy itself. Anyone who has ever witnessed surgery knows that it is a messy process! But at least Mr. Cain has presented SOMETHING that appears to be in the way of addressing the problems with the system. Obviously, his plan is not going to be implemented either immediately or as it stands even if he is elected but at least he seems to be the first person that is actually talking about changing things in more than cosmetic ways - and that is encouraging.

    Finally, even if the late Mother Theresa were to run, I'm sure that somebody, somewhere would find something about her that they would consider made her unworthy or unelectable. As noted, if we're going to continue the conservative track record of rejecting everyone who is "imperfect," we're going to get Democrats in power in perpetuity. I don't like Romney, period. If there was ever a "Republican" who is a Democrat in all but name, it's Romney - and he isn't even trying to hide his big government viewpoint. To nominate the man because "polls show" that he can beat Obama is to abandon reason. Whose polls? The only "polls" that count are the voting "polls" called elections. Every person in the Republican field has issues and negatives and certainly we want the best candidate to beat Obama. But beating Obama will be pointless if we put in somebody who turns out to be Obama Lite! We need people who understand that the government - indeed the COUNTRY - is broken and needs to be not just "fixed" but to return to the Founding Principles that were abandoned 150 years ago when a bloody war destroyed the concept of states' rights, limited government (at EVERY level!) and the consent of the governed. If we don't at least BEGIN that process, Obama will be just another milestone in our journey to extinction.

    Bruce Ackerman
    10/07/2011

    I worry about the practicality of 999. The ultimate implementation of a 25% flat tax or consumer tax is untenable. It simply won't ever fly politically because too many Americans pay too much less under the current progressive system. Adding a 9% sales tax to basic necessities would also be punitive to the poor. More palatable, I think, is a lower, flatter, simpler income tax that requires low and lower-middle income earners to have some skin in the game and fewer or NO tax "loopholes" or exemptions, combined with a "luxury tax" that excludes basic necessities like food (groceries), shelter, clothing, and medical care. The other side of this equation is simply SHRINKING the size and scope of the Federal Government. The fed should never cost more than 10% of the GNP. Period. If it does, it's simply doing too much. Better to have the other 10 or 15% (if it needs to be that high) in the hands of state and local governments where there is more accountability, efficiency, and control.

    Barrett.l.Corrigan
    10/06/2011

    The 9-9-9 plan is right on from a economic perspective. Lowering the cost of goods produced globally increases demand without raising the monetary supply successfully growing the aggregate with no negative side effects like inflation. Its revenue neutral so it wont hurt the government as far as ability to pay back debt once the spending is reeled in. The will never be a complete removal of the IRS as long as the government spends money and therefore requires some amount of income... hence the name. Weather or not this plan can be ruined in the future by politicians is just a stupid argument. That's like saying you should have a abortion because the baby could turn out evil... The plan as presented works. We need to get politicians in DC that understand economics, maybe even take a macro or even intro course, then they wont be trying to corrupt the plan. In conclusion, I'm about as conservative as it gets, and I feel this piece was biased, but to what end, I know not. All I do know is this plan has American Capitalism & Greatness written all over it. Herman Cain is my man for 2012, not because hes against the establishment, not because he isn't in love with himself, but because he knows how to make money, and what the government needs to do(or not do) to let American businesses thrive. In the end of the day, jobs and money make or allow everyone to be better off and pursue happiness.

    -And it just takes one FULL election cycle to change Washington. Don't give up before the battle even takes place. Think about it, Romney's been campaigning 6 years or so now... and he still can't get more than 30%, that's not who we need to put forward.

    Prior Walter
    10/12/2011

    Cain has ZERO foreign policy experience. Really want him dabbling in defense? Obama has yet to preside over a terrorist attack. And don't give me BUT WHAT ABOUT FORT HOOD? Not a terrorist attack. I am talking planes flying into buildings.. You know the kind that Bush couldn't stop, or didn't want to stop.

    dan beaulieu
    10/07/2011

    Santos Adams/Barrett.l.Corrigan

    The person with the most economic knowledge is undoubtedly Ron Paul. He predicted the Housing Bubble and the collapse of our economy. He also undstand's what created both bubbles. He understands quantitative easing's negative effects on our economy and that they came from the Federal Reserve, which he is currently auditing. He is an Austrian economist and an economic historian. Call him crazy but don't doubt his intelligence.

    Herman Cain, on the other hand, gave the economy a "clean bill of health" in 2007 JUST before the collapse. That shows terrible economic prudence. It shows that Herman Cain also doesn't understand the true cause of our economic troubles and would probably put America in a worse position than now.

    Ron Paul, hate him, love him. He is very intelligent.

    Dan Marshall
    10/06/2011

    Having politians take an economic course would accomplish nothing, almost all of them could care less about economic truth. We need to get more citizens to understand economics, but even that won't matter until they understand the morality of Liberty and the immorality of Socialism.