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The 9-9-9 Plan: Is The Herman Cain Tax Plan A Good Idea?

As he continues to heavily tout his "9-9-9 plan", Herman Cain has seen his popularity soar.  But is the Herman Cain tax plan a good idea for America?  Without a doubt, the "9-9-9 plan" is simple and it is easy to remember.  To most Americans, it sounds like a low tax plan.  But is that the truth?  As you will see below, Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan will actually raise federal taxes on some middle income Americans to as high as 37 percent.  If the other Republican candidates understood this, they would be jumping all over Cain.  But instead the best that most of them seem to be able to do is to make jokes about it.  For example, Jon Huntsman said that he thought that the 9-9-9 plan "was the price of a pizza when I first heard about it."  That is a funny line, but the reality is that the future of our tax system is very serious business.  Our economy is dying and our nation is drowning in debt.  We need some very real solutions to our very real problems.  So let's take a closer look at the 9-9-9 plan that Herman Cain is proposing....

The one great thing about the 9-9-9 plan is that it would completely eliminate the current tax code.  That should be the starting point for any proposal for reforming our current system of taxation.

Under Herman Cain's plan, all current federal taxes would be eliminated.  Social Security taxes would be eliminated, estate taxes would be eliminated and capital gains taxes would be eliminated.

All current tax deductions and loopholes would be eliminated as well.

So far so good.

Under the 9-9-9 plan, the current tax system would be replaced with a 9 percent personal income tax, a 9 percent business income tax and a 9 percent national sales tax.

Uh oh.

9 sounds like a low number, but when you add tax on top of tax on top of tax they can add up very quickly.  The truth is that some Americans would end up paying significantly more taxes under the Herman Cain tax plan.

Even Herman Cain is admitting this.  The following is what Cain said about his plan the other day on NBC's Meet The Press....

"Some people will pay more"

So who will be paying more?

Will it be the those at the top of the food chain?

No, the reality is that the Herman Cain tax plan would represent a substantial tax hike for millions of middle income families.

According to ABC News, an average family of four with a yearly income of just under $50,000 (i.e. the median household income), would pay approximately $2,725 more to the federal government in taxes under the 9-9-9 plan.

Well, that doesn't sound good.

That doesn't sound like a recipe for economic recovery.

But if you are a middle income small business owner, the news is much worse than that.

Under Herman Cain's tax plan, some small business owners could end up paying up to 37 percent of their incomes in taxes to the federal government.

Here is how that breaks down....

#1) First they would pay the 9 percent personal income tax.

#2) Secondly, they would pay 9 percent on all business income.  There would not even be a deduction for wages paid out.  This would hit some small businesses incredibly hard.  In fact, small businesses that have a very tight profit margin could be totally wiped out by this.

A lot of people have assumed that the 9 percent tax on businesses is only on corporations.  But that simply is not the case.

In a recent article, Paul Krugman of the New York Times explained what the 9-9-9 plan really says....

From comments I see that some readers believe that Cain’s second “9″ is a profits tax, which I’ve argued in the past probably falls on capital owners. But it isn’t: it’s a tax on all business income, defined as sales minus purchased inputs and dividends — but with no deduction for wages.

Ouch.

Okay, so now we are up to 18 percent for small business owners.

#3) The 9-9-9 plan also calls for a 9 percent national sales tax.  Of course the truth is that very few people will spend all of their money on things that the national sales tax is imposed upon, but theoretically this could add another 9 percent to an individual's tax burden.

So now we are up to a potential total of 27 percent for small business owners.

The 9-9-9 plan would also make sales taxes absolutely crushing in some areas of the United States.  For example, it has been projected that once you throw in state and local sales taxes, some areas of the country could be facing a combined sales tax as high as 17 percent once the 9-9-9 plan is implemented.

Cain's plan would also set the stage for a VAT tax to be implemented.  Many countries in Europe have already implemented a VAT tax, and quite a few liberal politicians in the U.S. have been eager to institute one here.

The potential dangers of a VAT tax were described in a recent article by Dean Clancy....

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.

Politicians love "new revenue streams", and once they get opened up they rarely ever get closed.

#4) Anyway, getting back to the main issue, so how do we get up to 37 percent for small business owners under the 9-9-9 plan?

Well, Herman Cain has also been heavily touting "the Chilean model" as a replacement for Social Security.

Under the Chilean model, all citizens are absolutely required to contribute 10 percent of all income to private pension plans.  Workers in Chile do not have the option to opt out of the system.

So if "the Chilean model" is adopted to replace the current Social Security system, that would mean that an extra 10 percent mandatory "tax" would be added on top of the 9-9-9 plan.

That would mean that many middle income small business owners could end up paying up to 37 percent of all of their income in taxes.

Is that something that you could afford to do?

When you add in state taxes, local taxes, property taxes and the dozens of other taxes that Americans pay each year, many middle income Americans would end up paying out over 50 percent of their incomes in taxes.

So much for a low tax plan.

So where in the world did Herman Cain get the idea for the 9-9-9 plan?

Well, there are some that are now claiming that he got the 9-9-9 plan from a video game.

Yes, seriously.

The following is an excerpt from a recent article in  The Daily Mail about the 9-9-9 plan....

Though he claims to have received the idea from a bank employee named Richard Lowrie Jr. in Ohio, observers are now questioning if the true inspiration is the tax code used on the SimCity video game.

The game, originally invented in 1989 allows players to plan and run virtual cities. The fourth version of the game, which came out in 2003, taxes players nine per cent for industrial taxes, nine per cent for residential taxes and nine per cent for commercial taxes.

Does that sound familiar?

Let us hope that this is not true.  Let us hope that Herman Cain did not get his tax plan from a video game.

But in any event, perhaps it is time to take a closer look at Herman Cain.

For example, did you know that he was once the chairman of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Board?

That is not a good sign.

As I have written about so many times, the Federal Reserve is at the very heart of our economic problems.

But Herman Cain does not intend to abolish the Federal Reserve.  In fact, he is very fond of the Federal Reserve.  He is on record as saying that a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve is not even needed.

The following is what Herman Cain once had to say about the need for an audit of the Federal Reserve....

Some people say that we ought to audit the Fed. Here's what I do know. The Federal Reserve already has so many internal audits it's ridiculous. I don't know why people think we're gonna learn this great amount of information by auditing the Federal Reserve.

I think a lot of people are calling for this audit of the Federal Reserve because they don't know enough about it. There's no hidden secrets going on in the Federal Reserve to my knowledge.

That is so sad.  There is a lot to like about Herman Cain.  But obviously his 9-9-9 plan is not well thought out, and he is a big time apologist for the Federal Reserve.

During the financial crisis, the Federal Reserve made $16 trillion in secret loans to the big Wall Street banks and to their friends.

That dollar figure is larger than the total value of all goods and services produced in the United States for an entire year.

If Congress had not passed a one time limited audit of the Federal Reserve we would have never learned about those loans.

So how in the world can Herman Cain claim that there is no need to audit the Fed?

Once again, there are definitely some things to like about Herman Cain, but when it comes to economics, taxation and the Federal Reserve, he is way out of his league.

So what is the alternative to the 9-9-9 plan?

The alternative should not be to go back to our current system of taxation.  It is broken beyond repair and needs to be abolished.

If we are going to tax income, we need a system that will be fair and not full of loopholes, that will not overly burden the poor, that will encourage businesses to stay in the United States, that will limit the size of the federal government and that will be easy to understand and implement.

But the truth is that until the federal government completely shuts down the Federal Reserve and the IRS we are going to be enslaved to debt and we are going to be paying much higher taxes than we should be.  We are operating in a debt-based monetary system which is designed to transfer wealth away from the American people.  We desperately need to change this.

It is entirely possible that we could have a system that did not tax income at all.  For much of U.S. history, that was the case in this nation.  It would certainly be possible to do it again.

So right now is definitely a time for some bold new ideas.

Unfortunately, the 9-9-9 plan is not going to be the solution to much of anything.

 

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