Biden hits Cain's '9-9-9' plan
October 12th, 2011
09:23 AM ET
3 years ago

Biden hits Cain's '9-9-9' plan

(CNN) - Herman Cain's "9-9-9" tax plan, the focal point of Tuesday night's Republican presidential debate, drew ire from Vice President Joe Biden Wednesday morning.

Biden said the proposal would unduly hurt the middle class in America.

"That's standing on its head what Teddy Roosevelt, a Republican, had in mind when he proposed a national income tax that'd be progressive," Biden said on ABC's "Good Morning America." "But it's totally consistent with the Republican philosophy that what you continue to do is continue to cut taxes for the millionaires and billionaires and continue to add a burden on the middle class."

Cain's proposal would replace the current tax code with a 9% corporate income tax rate, a 9% income tax rate and a 9% national sales tax.

As the latest candidate to surge in national polls, the former Godfather's Pizza CEO received the most criticism from his opponents over the proposal at the forum in New Hampshire.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman labeled it a "catchy phrase" and joked that he thought it was the "price of a pizza when I first heard it."

Former Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania asked audience members to raise their hands if they support the new sales tax. No one appeared to do so.

"There you go, Herman. That's how many votes you'll get in New Hampshire," Santorum said.

But Cain defended his plan as a fresh solution from an outside the Beltway figure.

Also appearing on ABC, he said the new rates would "lower the net taxes for everybody."

Biden linked the idea to past Republican policies and deregulation espoused by the GOP White House hopefuls that he said represents "more of the same."

"The last time we liberated the economy under their proposals, the last eight years put the middle class in chains," Biden said, referencing the presidency of George W. Bush. "My lord, how many times we have to go back to that horror movie?"

– CNN's Peter Hamby and Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.

Programming note: GOP presidential candidates next face off at 8 p.m. ET Tuesday, October 18, in the CNN Western Republican Presidential Debate in Las Vegas, Nevada.


Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain • Joe Biden
soundoff (22 Responses)
  1. Puddin

    My Daddy always told me "if you're rich, vote for a Republican; if you're poor or middle class, vote Democrat. So true!

    October 12, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  2. Chris

    And how does Cain plan to make up for the projected $200-odd billion shortfall that his 999 silliness will create?

    October 12, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Cain's plan generates $200 billion less than what the government takes in now. But, if you dare to point that out to Herman, you must be a racist. The plan also gives tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans, and while that may be good to perpetuate the class warfare against the middle class, it does not create jobs.

    October 12, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  4. T'sah from Virginia

    Cain claims that the middle class will benefit because paying 9% income tax will give them an extra $5,000 a year in their pockets (please fact check that). Then he says that $5,000 will go towards the 9% sales tax they will be paying on food and everything else they buy (new)?? So instead of the middle class "benefiting" from this plan, they have to use what they're saving in income tax to pay for sales tax – WTH??

    Come on now – a family of 4 @ $50,000 a year spends more on food alone than the $5,000 so-called savings they will get through income tax. And forget about the poor people – they will now be forced to pay a 9% sales tax and 9% income tax – where are their savings???? Also, is this a universal sales tax for every – what about salaries??? Someone working in Small City, UT – versus someone working in NYC, NY salaries are "massively" different. 9% of someone making $20,000 a year is not going to work.

    Insane Cain stands – with a no-win plan!!!

    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 12, 2011 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  5. GonzoinHouston

    Here are the problem with the various federal sales tax concepts:

    1. Wealthy people don't consume all that much of their income. Much of, often most of it, is re-invested, which isn't bad, but it doesn't generate tax revenue. Middle class and poor people tend to consume (spend) almost all their incomes. Therefore, the sales tax will affect a small part of the wealthy's incomes and all of the middle class and poor's, This makes the sales tax regressive, which is Not A Good Thing.

    2. What will and will not be covered by this tax? Real estate? That add's 9% to the cost of every house when real estate is in the dumper. Cars? Similar issue. What about the sale of stocks? If those are taxed it will seriously cut into the income of the wealthy, and that won't be too popular in GOP circles.

    When you add all the loopholes, whether or not it generates enough total revenue, in the end the wealthy will pay much less and the rest of us much more. That's pretty much the GOP economic plan in a nutshell

    October 12, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  6. MyGoodnessPeople

    I'm sorry, but when did people start caring about what Biden says again? He really has no place to criticize anyone for anything. Herman Cain's plan would not hurt Middle Class and the debate last night proved that Herman Cain was the only candidate that didn't stoop to calling names, arguing or making fun of other policies. He really isn't a politician and right now that is a VERY good thing. If politicians were so incredibly smart in government then we wouldn't be where we are. I would have to say that Biden saying 999 would hurt middle class means he really hasn't been paying much attention to the middle class lately. Ask yourself this – who do you know in middle class today who isn't hurting already?

    October 12, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  7. Shawn in MD

    Just because the plan is catchy, simple, bumper-sticker friendly and comes from outside the beltway doesnt make it credible. Mr. Cain is wrong. Its not going to help the middle or lower class. And what about capital gains? Why doesnt he talk about it? is it still in the works?

    October 12, 2011 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  8. Bill from GA

    Joe Biden is just touching the surface when he complains about the effect of Cain's 999 plan on the middle class. Its effect on low-income workers would be devastating.

    Cain says low-income worker would have their payroll taxes of 14.6% or so eliminated. Low-income workers only see the deductions on the paycheck, not the employers' share of payroll taxes.

    If you remember how the airline companies responded when the FAA quit collecting taxes on flying, you will understand how businesses will react to the end of their share of payroll taxes. THEY WILL KEEP IT.

    October 12, 2011 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  9. Annapolis Conservative

    Hey Joe, we tried your way, now let's try something new. Or are you scared that unemployment will drop even further when we get rid of the wasteful IRS salaries? Oh that's right, we can't do that or we wouldn't have anyone to police Obamacare! You and this administration are the "horror movie."

    October 12, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  10. Orchid333

    That's exactly what I thought when I watched Cain spout his "999" plan... wouldn't that put the most burden on the middle class? I mean, a millionaire would have no problem paying 9% sales tax on their groceries and goods, but how about someone who's just starting out and making minimum wage? How about a college student who's likely only working part time? How about a single Mom with 3 kids to support? I mean really, this really makes Republicans look weak and out of touch.

    October 12, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  11. Justin

    Biden........Never mind the fact that all the classes in America are hurting due to Obama administrations failed policies.

    October 12, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  12. stormeagle

    9-9-9. Sounds like a new chemical formula for a lawn fertilizer. Kind of symbolic, perhaps.

    October 12, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  13. yup - what me worry

    Joe Biden is a used car salesman and couldn't think his way out of a paper bag.
    His only solution is need more money from the "rich". Which is such a fallacy. He should be out there criticizing Warren Buffet for saying he will leave his fortune to the Gates Foundation instead of Uncle Sam.

    October 12, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    Huntsman's remark was hilarious and probably true. How did he just come up with $9.99? lol. Just some stupid catch phrase that is a tax giveaway to millionaires. His $9.99 plan will bring in less revenue to the Treasury when one of our problems is not getting enough revenue coming in.

    October 12, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. Rudy NYC

    Hello? Didn't anyone notice that last night Mr. Cain repeated "one devil in his details." Mr. Cain proposes to completely eliminate the capital gains tax. That, alone, is why is proposal has so much populist support.

    October 12, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  16. Mitt Romney

    Actually Cain is right! 9-9-9 will lower taxes and help the economy a lot. Also, the so-called billionaires and millionaires will have to pay their fair share of 9%. Per Cain, there will be no loop holes for anybody and it woul dbe straight 9% for everybody. Imagine GE will have to pay 9% instead of 0%. Sales tax in Chicago will drop from 13% to 9%. It's a very good leveling field.

    But question is how is this different from what Obama is trying to say on fair taxes for all? Black on democratic side is wrong and on republican side is right (or vice versa) when both are technically sayin gthe same thing!

    October 12, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  17. gt

    you should know joe about the economy " its a big _ _ _ _ _ _ _ deal" as you wiould say.. and you have done such a good job the last 3 yrs... right joe...anything is got to be better than the last three years of obama..9 – 9 9 why not cant get any worse....

    October 12, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  18. Brian

    How is it that no one is pointing out this 9 percent national sales tax would be ON TOP of state sales tax? This ridiculous 9/9/9 plan means you'd pay as much as 20 percent sales tax in some states and at least 15 percent in states with the lowest rates like Idaho. Do you want to pay 15-20 percent sales tax on a $20,000 vehicle? What about on a used $3,000 vehicle? That's an extra $450-600 in sales tax on a crappy used vehicle. Good luck with that! Talk about ramrodding the lower and middle class, all to slash effective rates in HALF for the ultra rich. NICE.

    October 12, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  19. ells

    This plan could really be a two headed coin from either direction. I would like to see someone, anyone take a real look at it at all of the facets of this idea. One one side, if you have flat tax rates with no deductions, no exemptions, no loop holes, then is there really a need for an Internal Revenue Department as massive as it is? Cound one not do away with a huge amount of budget on paper alone if there is a flat pay as you go tax? Even if one still had to file a return at the end of the year (which would be pointless if all exemptions, deductions and loop holese are eliminated) would it still not be a much shorter form and process. But on the other side of that coin there you are creating more unemployement because what would become of the millions of IRS workers, but at the same time that would be a savings due to not paying as many salaries to said IRS workers who are no longer needed. The list goes on of things that could be eliminated with this idea, but for each one there is a consequence.

    October 12, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  20. ThinkAgain

    Republicans are addicted to greed and unwilling to admit when they're wrong. Just like all addicts, they will continue to do the same behavior (cutting taxes for the rich) over and over and over again, expecting a different result.

    October 12, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  21. Stuart

    So, a 9% federal sales tax in addition to the state sales tax? In 37 states that would put total sales tax over 15% and over 18% in 8 states. I hardly believe that a plan like this could garner much, if any support with the majority of America. Maybe in New Hampshire, where there isn't currently a sales tax, but the rest of the country is sure to say no to that. The result of this would essentially be a 10% increase in the cost of consumer goods overnight.

    Try again Cain.

    October 12, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  22. rs

    Wow, another shock. A GOP/TP revenue plan that hurts the middle class and benefits the rich. It is just like they say- if you are voting Republican, you are voting against your own best interests.

    October 12, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |