Cain: For the poor, it's '9-0-9'
October 21st, 2011
12:25 PM ET
3 years ago

Cain: For the poor, it's '9-0-9'

(CNN) - GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain clarified his much talked-about "9-9-9" tax plan Friday, saying those who fall at or beneath the poverty level would have a different plan: "9-0-9."

Cain took heat over his proposal, which replaces the current tax code with a 9% corporate tax, a 9% income tax and a new 9% national sales tax. Opponents have argued the middle part of the plan would increase taxes on the poor, who currently pay little to no taxes.

But Cain fired back Friday, saying in a Detroit speech that those paying no taxes now would continue to pay zero taxes under his plan.

"If you are at or below the poverty level, your plan isn't 9-9-9 it is 9-0-9," Cain said. "Say amen y'all. 9-0-9."

The former Godfather's Pizza CEO also laid out his "opportunity zone" proposal. Under his current plan, businesses would be allowed to deduct purchases from the 9% corporate tax provision. But in cities facing high unemployment–the so-called "opportunity zones"–businesses could also deduct a certain amount of payroll expenses from their corporate taxes.

"One of the things that I believe in is empowering cities to help themselves," Cain said to his audience in Detroit–a city with one of the country's highest unemployment rates. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Detroit faced a 14.4% jobless rate, not seasonally adjusted, at the end of September.

Cain's tax plan was a heavy target at the last two presidential debates, with other candidates attacking the proposal for being too simple, as well as increasing a new revenue stream under the national sales tax.

But the Georgia businessman, who's now in a tight race with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney for top choice in national polls, said his plan is simple for a reason.

"Some of my opponents in this race have said 'Why do you want to give government another mechanism to tax us?' My response is: I want to take away the 10 million other ways they have now," Cain said. "I'm not worried about one, I'm worried about the 10 million in the current tax code."

As Cain has surged to the top of the race in recent weeks, his plan has been vetted by numerous economists

A check of the figures on CNN's "John King, USA" found a significant gap in revenue between Cain's plan, which would bring in $1.77 trillion in revenue, and the current tax structure, which brings in about $2.16 trillion.

But the candidate insists he could get the plan passed through Congress under a Cain administration.

"Bottom line folks, 9-9-9 means jobs jobs jobs," Cain said. "Let's renew the economy of this nation."

Also see:

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Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain • Taxes
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Vigla

    Oh, for goodness sake... Another wrinkle? Won't this change lower even more the revenue collected? This is a SCAM folks, plain and simple... His whole campaign I'm convinced is to sell books. Sarah Palin Syndrome!

    October 21, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  2. Pam

    so you wont have the poor pay 9 percent income tax, but you are willing to make their cost of living go up by 9 percent by imposing a national sales tax!!!
    This guy is clueless!!!!

    October 21, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  3. Bruce

    Sounds like a solid plan to me. No one else, especially the Dummycrats, have come out with any decent plan.

    October 21, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    9-9-9, 9-0-9, you are still raising taxes on the poor. Your plan still raises taxes on the middle class, and dramatically taxes for the wealthiest taxpayers. The effective rates paid by a bus driver and a hedge fund manager become even more unbalanced in favor of the manage.

    And, Mr. Cain, don't think that we have not noticed that your taxes would be dramatically reduced under your plan. Would you care to tell us what that difference might be. I ask because you this because, sooner or later, if you are serious about this campaign of yours, you will have to disclose your finances. So far, you campaign looks more like a business venture than a campaign for public service.

    October 21, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. TEAliban/TEAhadists

    Too late to try and polish up your terrible economic policy. We all know good and darn well that the rich can care less about the poor. After all the flack Mr. Motisa(More Tea Sir) has been getting over his 9-9-9 plan, I think he realizes he's in trouble. You're in the big leagues now. Did you not think economists will not point out how flawed your plan is?

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012
    E. WARREN 2012

    October 21, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. Sandy

    They'll still pay extra taxes on ALL the goods they buy. And you still stick it to the middle class! This guy is clueless!

    October 21, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. jk from MN

    Herman must have run another scenario through his game again.

    October 21, 2011 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  8. Sparky

    Now that I have paid taxes for 50 years while earning my retirement savings you want me to pay taxes to spend it. Not a good plan.

    October 21, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  9. azmary

    Mr. Cain still does not get it. The big issue is the 9% sales tax. In some cases where state+local sales tax is already 7% his new federal sales tax would make many purchases for middle and low income people prohibitive. It is NOT apples and oranges, it is dollars out of our pockets whenever we buy things. We cannot buy everything used, and in some communities even food is taxed, so it would be pretty hard to avoid a 9% cut in purchasing power when we would pay more taxes on almost everything we buy.

    October 21, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  10. Rudy NYC

    Some people here think that I am an Obama supporter. Wrong. I am a victim of conservative greedy-ological policies. I am driven by truth, justice and the American way. Not, lies, deceit, and the imperial way.

    October 21, 2011 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  11. FactCheck

    Anyone else know the cheat codes for Sim City? This way, I can get a good start on what Herman Cain's next tax policy is going to be.

    October 21, 2011 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    He's in panic mode....so much for simplicity and keeping taxation a 1-tier system.

    October 21, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. JustMe

    It still sounds like a no-go to me. I would think taking the 9 out of the middle part of the plan while good for lower income Americans would lower the revenue plus there is still the whole thing of the 9% national sales tax on top of what you already pay in state and local sales tax (and please, nobody give me that stuff about "apples and oranges" – that's just BS, because all that matters is that where I live I would be paying 16% sales tax (unless I buy used goods which is ridiculous, because that would then just drive down manufacturing and retail causing a loss of jobs). Cain's plan is just BAD no matter how you look at it.

    October 21, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. Rudy NYC

    Has anyone noticed what would not be assessed by the 9% national sales tax on "new" items? Stocks, bonds, gold, and almost any sort of investment you can purchase, would all be excluded. So would existing properties that are up for foreclosure be excluded. Capital gains taxes are completely eliminated. Do you see a pattern here?

    October 21, 2011 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  15. Vigla

    Sparky, that is an AWESOME argument! VERY good point!

    October 21, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. Sniffit

    The stupid. It burns.

    October 21, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  17. jim

    9-0-9? Exactly how is this addendum to his plan remain revenue neutral, as he previously claimed 9-9-9 was?

    IIf Cain wants to make up details on the fly to placate different political groups, then he is going to end up with a plan that is just as convoluted as the current tax code. I don't think he has really thought this plan through.

    October 21, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  18. Alex

    Time to leave Herman Cain. This guy is a joke. 999. 909. Lol. These taxes are ridicolous. I much prefer Ron Paul's 0% income tax. Let me keep the fruits of my labor and decide where to spend my money.

    October 21, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  19. Texas

    I think he to take Economics 101 but I doubt that would help.

    October 21, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  20. Tough USA

    While doing the math ask yourself why we are even talking tax plans when we need to cut spending.

    Focus on the millionaire family
    By Sarah Muller – Wed Oct 19, 2011 10:42 PM EDT.People are starting to catch on to the fact Herman Cain's 999 plan translates to the majority of Americans paying more in taxes. Who will pay more specifically? We crunched the numbers on two hypothetical families: A family of four making $50,000 per year — married, filing jointly, with two dependent children — and a similar type of family making $1 million per year. Ultimately, the family making $50k would pay $5,000 more in taxes. And the family making a cool mill would pay $144,000 less in taxes. No wonder Donald Trump digs the idea.

    October 21, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  21. Qi

    Wow....This country is in serious trouble!

    October 21, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  22. Jim

    Classic Repug tripe – cut taxes on the rich, raise taxes on the poor, send the jobs overseas and then blame it on the Democrats.

    Cain is an idiot.

    October 21, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. 19th Century - here we come (thanks to Cain and Koch and Murdoch)

    I can see it now – if the unemployed aren't willing to work for under $.05/hour or whatever the "benevolent/profit-seeking/job creators" companies are willing to pay, then the unemployed are surely lazy, drug-addicted hobos, right? How's child labor as a voucher system too? If children aren't willing to go to Koch/Murdoch-funded and indoctrinated schools, then those kids must work at a factory or mine or else they are deemed lazy delinquents. If anyone asks any questions, the police (funded by JP Morgan – as NYPD just received a massive donation) will crack skulls? And if anyone disagrees with any of this, the media, court system, and Congress will outlaw protests of any kind. Fantastic. Triangle Shirt Waist Fire? Nothing in comparison to this nightmare. Coal mining deaths and violent crackdowns by the Pinkerton cops? Sure, it will make China look like a workers' paradise. I really fail to see how Cain is anything other than a puppet for the Koch/Murdoch/Birch agenda.

    Again, if the Kochs traded with Iran, violating an embargo as Bloomberg said, why aren't they in prison? Why are they and Cain in any position to even discuss the economy, politics, and wages/employment/etc.? I guess when your father makes his billions helping Stalin set up oil refineries and pipes in the 1930s while he was beginning his genocide and political arrests and murders, inheriting that wealth tremendously warps one's values. Getting rich from a murdering Communist and then claiming to be all for America and American values while destroying the poor and middle class – how's that for "American" values? Ask the 99%, we disagree.

    October 21, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. Lynda/Minnesota

    So much attention being paid to a plan that will never make it pass the cutting board.

    October 21, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. Patriot

    Mr. Cain is a salesman, and salesman are liers. First he promote 999 and accused the unemployed and poor of creating their own problem, now that he heard the ourcry of the poeple he changed it to 909. He will do anything to sell you anything. None of these candidates tink of the American people,, they only think of themselves and the job they're applying ofr. The Presidency is not for sale, it is earned by honorable work and intention. Poitics no longer needed in this country. The Americans can see that now after they turned their back on them. The Republicans had destroyed all the democratic principle this country was founded. They still refused to signed the jobs bill, and that's a good evidence.

    October 21, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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