Cain: For the poor, it's '9-0-9'
October 21st, 2011
12:25 PM ET
7 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:

Super PAC ad hits Romney on taxes

Nevada guv opens door to caucus date change

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Santorum labels Cain 'pro-choice,' Cain rebuts

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

    I am looking forward to working myself to death in order to buy food while helping the Job Creators prosper. I show my patriotism by buying Chinese products at Walmart and eating fast food because to not do this would weaken the economy. I can't stand the thought of making rich people less rich by requiring them to pay taxes. I am proud to numb my brain with reality and talent shows after spending my paycheck on disposable electronics. Fox News, the Tea Party, and Herman Cain have shown me the way and the light.

    October 21, 2011 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. atlanta girl

    What an idiot.

    October 21, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |

    So if you're 8% over the Poverty line, you'll effectively make less money than someone who is under the poverty line?

    October 21, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Newmoon2

    A 9% national sales tax on top of state and local tax would be a HUGE burden on the poor. This guy is full o' bull. His plan benefits the wealthy FAR more than the middle class and the poor. I suppose when he's talking at corporate events it will become 0-9-9?

    October 21, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  5. Telchristina

    To Pa Mom,
    "If an idiot was to tell you the same thing every day for a while you would end up by believing it" Good luck with your education Mrs " a lot of classes"!!!!!

    October 21, 2011 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  6. Jake

    I'm guessing we will be seeing lots of revisions like this in the upcoming months!

    October 21, 2011 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  7. Ryan (future president)

    Herman's ship will begin to sink... He has potential for a cabinet position.. I still believe Ron Paul will gain traction as the others lose momentum.. He generates pretty good campaign contributions and he speaks consistently with facts to back them up.. He's the only candidate who wants this republic to stand for what it is: a nation of individuals bonded through freedom, creativity, and the pursuit of wealth!

    October 21, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    Leave no shark unjumped.

    October 21, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  9. Gary, Hunt Valley, Md.

    The obvious devil in the details of this simpleton plan is the 9% national sales tax. Let's see, if you live in Maryland, for example, add on the 6% state sales tax and you are looking at a 15% tax whenever you purchase goods or services. That will hammer the poor and middle class more than anything. Think about it, whether you are paying for milk and bread or a new appliance or a car, or some of that poison Herm peddles that he calls pizza.

    October 21, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Bill

    What a clown.

    October 21, 2011 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. johnyc

    So I see several comments that just spout of personal insults at Mr. Cain. So I ask this question: What plan do you support? At least he has put a plan out there for the public. Here is how I would approach our financial crisis:

    1. Balance the budget first.
    2. Stop any wasteful spending.
    3. Live within your means.
    4. If all 3 have been tried, then look at raising taxes.

    Just my opinion.

    October 21, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. quinLee


    October 21, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. Corporations R. People II

    Still not good, still a shill for the wealthy. Herb needs to tell his top secret team of advisors to give him something serious and viable or just go back to slinging pizzas.
    Class warfare: new items versus used items. Why does Herb hate new items so much?

    October 21, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. J

    Bridgekeeper: Stop. What... is your name?
    Cain: Herman Cain of Georgia.
    Bridgekeeper: What... is your quest?
    Cain: I seek the Republican presidential nomination.
    Bridgekeeper: What... is your favourite colour?
    Cain: Blue. No, yel...
    [he is thrown over the edge of the bridge]
    Cain: auuuuuuuugh.

    October 21, 2011 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. Al-NY,NY

    So when the others lambaste him for this new "tweak" will he change it again? Say goodbye Herm. Your time in the limelight is over. Hopefully you're smarter than Simple Sarah and will disappear, but I doubt it.

    October 21, 2011 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  16. Marie MD

    Gawd, I can't wait until November 7, 2012. I can't believe we have to put up with these clowns for one more freakin' year!!!
    If you are going to lie and not have your figures or solutions or ideas make sense please STFU!!! Thank you

    October 21, 2011 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  17. GetAClue

    Mr Cain is just another golden apple. Don't let it distract you from the real issue. Did the tax code cause all the job losses on 2008/09? No... It was greed & fear! Our politics & lives are being controlled by these two emotions. Wake up and take back control of your lives...

    October 21, 2011 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  18. Jerome

    The Teapublicans better make it 911. That's who they need to call since their party is a train wreck in the making.

    October 21, 2011 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Phil in KC

    A little improvement. But the poor are still going to shoulder an unfair amount of the tax burden. They spend all their money on necessities. Therefore, all their income will be taxed at 9% when they spend it. The wealthy will get taxed 9%, but the vast majority of their income is discretionary, meaning they don't have to spend it if they don't want to. But the people who are really going to get screwed are the middle class. Because a majority of their income also goes to the necessities. Which means, they will get taxed 9% on their income and then get taxed 9% again when they spend it on those necessities.
    Herman's got a nice slogan there but, in true Republican fashion, it just goes to help the wealthy.

    October 21, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  20. Aaron

    If the poor don't pay any taxes now, they'd still get hit with an additional 9% through the sales tax. Given the Repub insistence that the rich not pay taxes, they'd put everything on the middle class usual.

    October 21, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. WJMalan

    First it was 999, now 909. Staying with his Beatles theme (number 9... number 9.... number 9) my guess his next plan will be "one after 909."

    This guy sounds more like a faith healer every day. "amen, y'all"! And RISE; RISE like pizza dough out of that crippled economy.... Imagine we can cut the budget without cutting the wars... AMEN, brothers. What crapola.

    October 21, 2011 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  22. Henry Miller

    If we must have an income tax, then those who don't pay it shouldn't be allowed to vote–there's nothing to stop them from voting to raise taxes on other people while feeling no pain themselves.

    October 21, 2011 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  23. volksmaniac

    CAIN in 2012 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Take that you Varmints .

    October 21, 2011 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. mike

    yeah, Cain just lost any chance of my vote. I actually liked the 9-9-9 scenario. But 9-0-9 is pointless. Freeloaders keep on freeloading...

    October 21, 2011 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Rudy NYC

    Henry Miller wrote:
    If we must have an income tax, then those who don't pay it shouldn't be allowed to vote–there's nothing to stop them from voting to raise taxes on other people while feeling no pain themselves.
    That's not democracy, dude. That's a plutocracy.

    October 21, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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