Michele Bachmann On Cain’s 999 Plan: It Isn’t A Jobs Plan, It Is A Tax Plan

She wants us to turn Cain’s “999” plan upside, “because the devil’s in the details”, dontcha know.

So is Bachmann right? Is Cain’s plan a tax plan instead of a jobs plan? At National Review, Josh Barro thinks so indicating that Cain’s plan includes both a VAT tax and a sales tax:

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan includes a personal income tax, a business tax, and a sales tax, all at flat rates of nine percent. Bruce Bartlett critiques the plan in the New York Times today, and he flags a fact about the business tax that I hadn’t been aware of:

The business tax in the Cain plan bears no resemblance to the present corporate income tax. The tax would apply to gross sales less dividends paid and all purchases from other companies, including investment goods. Thus, there would be no deduction for wages.

This is far more similar to a value-added tax than to a corporate income tax. And indeed, the description on Cain’s website matches Bartlett’s, saying the business tax would apply to “Gross income less all investments, all purchases from other businesses and all dividends paid to shareholders.” One question is what Cain means by “gross income,” but I think he has to mean something like gross revenue–anything that looks like a profits concept would already exclude “purchases from other businesses” and so they would not be there to deduct.

If Cain’s plan simplified the tax code, and lowered overall tax burdens, that’d be a good thing. But this plan would have to go through Congress, and proposing the new tax streams in this plan with little certainty that the old ones would go away sounds like a good way for Americans to keep paying all the taxes they pay now, plus the new taxes Cain is proposing.

And just the mention of a VAT tax gives me the heebie jeebies.

Score one for Bachmann. Cain has ridden to the front of the GOP pack while touting this plan as his economic model, now thanks to Bachmann’s questioning there’s going to be a whole lot more scrutiny on it. It’ll be intereting to see if Cain, and his frontrunner status, survives.

Of course, that’s also why so many of these candidates are reticent to put out specifics. We accuse them of being vague, focused on platitudes rather than policy, but then when one candidate throws something specific down the pack of candidates (not to mention the media) attacks.

Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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  • I H8 GOPers

    Herm wants to turn the party of “no” into the party of “nein nein nein.”

    • Sky Rider

      It becomes more obvious by the minute; YOU and the rest of the Dems have NO rational argument against conservatism so you make some empty, inane, moronic statement like YOU have and then expect that to bring people to believe the way you do. Please continue to do this, YOU are helping conservatives win the day!

      • I H8 GOPers

        999 doesn’t give businesses a deduction for payroll.
        THAT’S STUPID! 999 is not only a regressive tax and a deficit builder,
        it’s a JOB KILLER!

        • Jojones2005

          please explain why it would kill jobs and add to the deficit…. killing jobs i would say comes from high tax and excessive regulation and adding to the deficit would be the fiscal irresponsibility of our government. What we need is a lower tax rate for all income brackets and to not spend more than we bring in (what a novel idea). I hate the fact that Liberals/Progressives are against anything that may help the rich, even if that means that everyone benefits…  who cares about Warren Buffet or Bill Gates. But I guess it won’t be enough for liberals until we all are equal, meaning choice, individuality, and freedom are essentially zero. 

          • justmyopinion.

            MAY is the keyword in your argument.  It MAY work and it MAY keep our country spiraling downward economically.  We are entrusting in the idea that corp. America is going to fall in line and say, “yep, this is it, we will finally start paying our taxes like we should.”  We are hoping that American’s will take that hard earned money that isn’t being taken out of their check every month and putting it back into local business (even though it will probably be used in attempts to pay off their enormous debt and will actually buy less since they will be paying more), and that it MAY not in turn put a heavier burden on the middle class by increasing their burden.  And then in turn it MAY create more jobs!  The problem with the plan is that there is far too much reliance on hoping that everyone does what they are supposed to. A plan that says X must happen so that Y can happen and if Z also happens in the order they are supposed to then we will see the benefit.  This isn’t a simple plan, anything to do with taxes in history has never been just a simple plan. Cain and his followers want to paint the picture that everything is simple, but read your history book, tax plans are never simple and they never work as well as they do in theory, much like any economical platform.  You don’t know any more than I what will really happen if it passes.  And killing jobs does not come from higher taxes and excessive regulation on the rich, it comes from the lack of regulation and that the rich will do whatever they can do to keep and add money into their pockets.  Trickle down economy DOES NOT WORK!  The rich keep their money, kill jobs, and step on the lower and middle class in the process to accomplish their capitalistic right to keep every hard earned dollar.

  • headward

    I’d be for a VAT if they completely remove income taxes.  That way we’re all paying a fair amount no matter you income.

    • Jamermorrow

      VAT tax is the best way to tax. We should tax consumption and not savings or production. 

  • borborygmi

    Michelle is right,  Revenue streams do not disappear

  • I H8 GOPers

    I just noticed that 999 doesn’t give businesses a deduction for payroll. THAT’S STUPID! 999 is not only a regressive tax and a deficit builder, it’s a JOB KILLER!

    • Hal419

      Any plan is a deficit builder if you don’t address excessive spending.  You don’t know enough of the details to make any of these claims with any credibility, just the usual liberal droning that will keep us mired in the Obama financial disaster even longer.

  • Hal419

    It is a tax reform plan, still waiting on the details.  We do need tax reform.

  • sbark

    Whatever its inherent weakness, Give it one GOP admin as 999,   as the elections swing putting the Left in control of the House or POTUS and it goes from 999 to 20-20-20………

    It just opens the door for left to “raise revenue”…….and of course spend like drunken sailors again.

  • mikemc1970

    Like all salesmen Cain is pushing his signature piece. He also has a slew regulatory roll backs planned as well. He even said so during the debate.

  • SigFan

    Actually I think that Cain’s plan is workable, but it would require legislation that would abolish other taxes, and require a two-thirds majority to enact rate changes to it and the demolition of the IRS and many other federal agencies being reduced in scope and spending.  If that could be accomplished, which is a big IF and highly doubtful, then I can actually see this plan as a good answer.  Of course, the 49% or so that currently pay no federal income tax would suddenly have to start paying their “fair share” so that should make them happy right?  I mean, they are all about being fair aren’t they?

    • Sky Rider

      I would want to see the tax levels locked-in and all other taxes abolished, in such a way that it would require an 80 or 90% vote in the House and Senate before they could ever be raised or new taxes created. That way if the Dems were to ever regain control of all 3 branches again they couldn’t raise the taxes or create new ones without pure justification.

      • SigFan

        I hear you, although I think that trying to get them to go further than a two-thirds majority would be like herding ferrets.

    • borborygmi

      it would require legislation that would abolish other taxes….The nail and the head.    otherwise it is just additional taxes.  It is regressive and it will hit the low income and middle class the most.

  • http://pocketjacksblog.blogspot.com Jay W.

    Cain has ridden to the front of the GOP pack while touting this plan as his economic model, now thanks to Bachmann’s questioning there’s going to be a whole lot more scrutiny on it.

    The scrutiny is coming because Cain is suddenly looking strong in the polls. Like pathetic clockwork, ABC News has already started trotting out the narrative they intend to flog should Cain get the nomination. It referred to Cain as “pizza man” about 837 times this morning.

  • Camsaure

    Looked like another circular firing squad orchestrated by the lefty media. A smart debater would turn every question towards obama and the left(which obama and the left are desparetly trying to avoid) instead of trying to destroy each other. I don’t understand why none of them have been able to figure this out. The public will follow anyone with the guts to go after obama and the left, and why not the left cooperating media while they are at it.

  • Jamermorrow

    I am not if favor of any tax bill that maximizes government revenue. The key is to take away from government and not feed it.

    • robert108

      If the govt had to depend on economic growth for more revenue, instead of what you describe as “printing money”, wouldn’t that be beneficial?  Think about it.

      • Jamermorrow

        I want government to have less revenue no matter how much economic growth we have.  Of course it is better than printing money.

        • robert108

          I’ll repeat it one more time, and will try to dumb it down for you.  Govt does perform a few functions that are prescribed by the Constitution.  Those need to be funded, but most govt spending is optional, and mostly intended to buy votes.  That spending needs to be seriously limited(I favor an Amendment capping social spending at 10% of GDP or less).  But what you fail to grasp is that the real private enterprises system works as well as it does because it is in line with human incentive.  Therefore, giving govt incentive to implement policies that increase economic growth is a good thing, and the incentive for govt is that they get more money to spend, but can’t spend more than 10% of it for their vote buying and other bleeding heart “compassion” purposes.  It’s called a working reality, as opposed to your unrealistic ideology.  Forgive my redundancy.

          • Jamermorrow

            Feel free to fund those activities with your own money and leave other people alone.

          • robert108

            By “activities”, are you referring to the Constitutional requirements?

          • borborygmi

            a few specifics on what activities you would approve of nationally, regionally and locally?

          • Jamermorrow

            Zero would be optimal but less will work until we reach zero.

  • howiseeit

    Bravo Cain for having the guts and sharing your vision.  That’s far better than any empty suit trying to win by avoiding the issues.  It’s like going to bat and looking for a walk.  I think we should wake up and push every candidate to respond to all the issues and if they avoid the questions than write em off.  We watched Obama get elected without knowing anything about him.  Look at the mess he got us in.

  • Jojones2005

    What does this mean:
    $10,000 income means you pay = $900       —-> what you pay now $1075.00$50,000 income means you pay = $4,500    —-> what you pay now $8,625.00$100,000 income means you pay = $9,000  —-> what you pay now $21,617.00$250,000 income means you pay = $22,500  —> what you pay now $67,397.00$1,000,000 income means you pay = $90,000 –> what you pay now $327,314.00(Numbers are based on single filling) So that means the more you make the more you pay… how is that regressive? Plus this means we all pay less.If you do the math, i know from my income bracket, the sales tax means that i will pay roughly another 3% to 4% (not 9% because you do not spend 100% of your remaining income on new items – people who say this is a flat 18% tax need to take a math class or two) So I go from a 25% bracket to a rough 13%. This is the biggest tax break for the middle class ever.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GGLIYA2EVLTQVGZAPHNYA5TUW4 Dragon

    Lots of knee-jerk responses on this board, today, though there are some thoughtful responses. Why not go to the source?

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

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GGLIYA2EVLTQVGZAPHNYA5TUW4 Dragon

    “Score one for Bachmann. Cain has ridden to the front of the GOP pack
    while touting this plan as his economic model, now thanks to Bachmann’s
    questioning there’s going to be a whole lot more scrutiny on it. It’ll
    be interesting to see if Cain, and his frontrunner status, survives.”

    Of course Cain will survive. Bachmann is getting desperate enough to smear Cain’s message.

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