Saturday, September 17, 2011

Herman Cain's 999 Plan

Herman CainImage by Gage Skidmore via FlickrI first heard of Herman Cain in 2007 when Neal Boortz's book "Somebody's Gotta Say It" came out.  I read Boort's book and started listening to his radio show on the internet in my office.  Cain was a frequent guest and substitute host on Boortz's show.

Herman Cain has been a big proponent of the FairTax as advocated by Boortz.  In the past, I have generally been a supporter of the FairTax plan, though I do have some questions regarding some of the assumptions and the transition to the FairTax.  Cain's support of the FairTax is one of the reasons he intrigues me as a potential Presidential candidate.

Under the FairTax, all payroll (FICA) and federal income tax withholding is eliminated, along with eliminating the IRS.  You get to keep your entire paycheck.  You also get a prebate each month based on the size of your household.  Taxes are collected through a national consumption tax of 23% embedded in the cost of all goods.  It is designed to be revenue neutral.

During the recent GOP Presidential debates, Herman Cain has introduced his 999 plan to help the economy.  The plan imposes a 9% income tax on everybody, a 9% tax on business, and a 9% national sales tax.  It eliminates  the payroll tax for everybody.  Cain's 999 plan is designed to be a transition to the FairTax by, as he put it, bringing the supporters of the FairTax together with the supporters of the Flat Tax.

I heard Cain yesterday on the Sean Hannity radio program discussing the meat of his plan.  On the surface, I liked the general premise, however, the more I think about it, the more questions that I have.  I would like to see some sort of calculator similar to the FairTax calculator to ascertain whether or not the plan would negatively impact me financially.  I always do a little better under the FairTax than under the current system.

With the elimination of the payroll tax and the flat 9% rate on income, I would lower my combined tax burden considerably.  The remaining question would be whether or not the new 9% sales tax would in the end cause my total tax burden to increase or not.  It could be close.  Still, Cain is one of the few people out there with specific plans and proposals as opposed to making general statements of "we need to reform the tax code." 
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  1. It's better than any other candidate's plan! Oh wait... no other candidate HAS a plan!

  2. "a 9% tax on business, and a 9% national sales tax."

    Is the tax on businesses' gross or net? A tax on gross profits would soon eliminate useless businesses who depend upon tax-writeoffs for all those company perks. It would redirect those monies into areas that would generate even more profits.

    A national sales tax would work if the whole range of services were included (lawyer fees, haircuts, stock trades). We hear all this "service economy" b/s, then tax those services. The income tax was instituted when we used to make things.

  3. Herman Cain's 999 Tax Plan calls for the following:
    9% Corporate Tax
    9% Income Tax
    9% National Sales Tax

    When you add a new 9% National Sales Tax to the various State Sales Taxes this means the net sales in most states becomes a massive sales tax, for example:

    Texas Sales Tax = 8% + 9% Herman Cain Tax = 17% Sales Tax in Texas

    New Jersey Sales Tax = 7% + 9% Herman Cain Tax = 16% Sales Tax in NJ

    South Carolina Sales Tax = 9% + 9% Herman Cain Tax = 18% Sales Tax in SC

    Idaho Sales Tax = 6% + 9% Herman Cain Tax = 15% Sales Tax in Idaho

    Or does Mr. Cain expect the states to eliminate their sales taxes, which would destroy their already insolvent balance sheets.

    Either way, seems to mean this plan either bankrupts the citizens or bankrupts the states.
    Am I missing something?
    Have any of the debate moderators asked Mr. Cain about this?

  4. hollister, it is one of the reasons I like Cain. He has a plan

    Anonymous, according to Cain's website the business tax is on "Gross income less all investments, all purchases from other
    businesses and all dividends paid to shareholders"

    Acai, according to Cain, the plan is designed to be revenue neutral on the Federal side. It replaces the current income tax and social security taxes. When you take those taxes out of the mix, the theory is that the total tax stays the same. Though I am a bit concerned about how it would impact lower income groups

  5. The significant problem with Cain's 999 plan is that it does nothing to address the real problems which include the bloated size of government and the involvement in multiple foreign wars. The assumption that people should pay income tax or VAT really is flawed in the most basic ways. Reduce the government to its constitutionally justifiable size and the problem solves itself.



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