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The Numbers Behind Herman Cain's '9-9-9' Plan | The Nation

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Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie

 Politics, wonkery and everything in between.

The Numbers Behind Herman Cain's '9-9-9' Plan

Writing at the New York Times, economist Bruce Bartlet gives an analysis of Herman Cain’s “9-9-9” plan. In short? It massively cut taxes on corporations and the rich, and rewards everyone else with a colossal tax hike:

This means that the 47 percent of tax filers who now pay no federal income taxes will pay 9 percent on their total income. And elimination of the payroll tax won’t even help half of them because the earned income tax credit, which Mr. Cain would abolish, offsets both their income tax liability and their payroll tax payment as well.

Additionally, everyone would now pay a 9 percent sales tax on all purchases. No mention is made of any exemptions from this tax, so we may assume that it will apply to food, medical care, rent, home and auto purchases and a wide variety of other expenditures now exempt from state sales taxes. This would increase their cost of living by 9 percent while, at the same time, the poor would pay income taxes.

Cain sells the “9-9-9” plan as a populist alternative to Obama’s policies, but in reality, its passage would transfer trillions in wealth from the vast majority of Americans, so that the rich could enjoy lower tax rates. I recommend that you read the whole of Bartlet’s analysis, as he reveals the extent to which Cain’s plan is both unfair and more than a little incoherent.

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