2012 GOP presidential hopeful Herman Cain has risen in the polls recently, and his 999 tax plan was the star of the GOP primary debate last week (with the number nine warranting 85 different mentions). But more and more analysts are pointing out that the plan entails a big tax increase on low- and middle-income Americans, while it would cut taxes for the wealthiest Americans.
Cain has vehemently protested that his plan would raise taxes on the poorest Americans (in part by saying they will just shift their consumption to used goods, which are exempted from his proposed nine percent sales tax). But today, Cain finally admitted to NBC’s David Gregory that some Americans would, in fact, pay more in taxes under his plan due to the sales tax. But Cain think those people will demand that 999 get implemented anyway:
CAIN: There is a huge amount of public support for 999. Just talk to anybody. This is what’s going to help us get it passed. The public support.
GREGORY: I just want to break that down. So you’re acknowledging this morning, which I haven’t heard you do before, that there are individuals who are going to pay more in taxes.
CAIN: There are some, yes.
GREGORY: And you think those people are going to rally around tax reform where the wealthy pay less and middle-class and lower-income folks pay more.
As we’ve noted, because low-income Americans spend almost all of what they earn, while the wealthy do not (and earn a significant amount of their money from investments, the income from which goes untaxed entirely under 999), Cain’s plan will be a massive shift in the tax burden down the income scale. Of course, as Cain has explained, the poor could always just buy used food in order to lower their tax rate. And evidently he believes Americans will be so overjoyed at the prospect of higher taxes that they will flood the streets to demand them.