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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Santorum labels Cain 'pro-choice,' Cain rebuts


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

    Something that is being overlooked here is that while the poor will be paying 9% in sales taxes, they will no longer be taxed on their employment taxes, nor will their employers which means more money available for raises...not to mention the increased capital (through lower corporate taxes) available for companies to grow and expand (hire more workers). There may be hope for this country yet! Go Cain!

    October 21, 2011 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. Peggy - Tx

    Cain is a joke, the fact that so many GOPers like him is a testament to just how stupid GOpers are.

    If we let the Gopers win in 2012, no telling where they will take America. From the power structure emerging in the GOP, the place they are wanting to go, under the pretext of “libertarian” is to a place where a few very wealthy own absolutly everything and run absolutly everything and then they can not be voted out. In the new GOP order, public schools will be terrible and ineffective and only the very wealthy can afford private education and then the text being taught will be dictated by the few very rich, which reign as lords over the land and pass their wealth to their children ... a feudal society.

    October 21, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    Sales tax is the most unfair of all because it taxes more of the income of lower earning people than it does of higher earning people. That's because lower earning people must spend most or all of their income on goods and services just to pay for their day-to-day living. Higher earners have extra income that they can save or invest.

    Sales tax punishes the poor for being poor and rewards the wealthy for being wealthy.

    October 21, 2011 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. insert sarcastic remark here

    So if you are above the poverty line by $1 Cain's plan will tax you into poverty. Why didn't we think of this before! It's brilliant!

    October 21, 2011 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  5. Boytjie

    And so the exceptions begin LOL And soon its as compliacted as the existing system

    October 21, 2011 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  6. Rudy NYC

    Devin wrote:
    Something that is being overlooked here is that while the poor will be paying 9% in sales taxes, they will no longer be taxed on their employment taxes, nor will their employers which means more money available for raises...not to mention the increased capital (through lower corporate taxes) available for companies to grow and expand (hire more workers).
    ----------
    You're wrong on a couple of counts. The employment tax doesn't go away until Cain gets rid of Medicare and Social Security, which is in the plan further down the road. The rest is trickle down theory.

    Those raises you talk about, guess who will get them? Do you seriously believe that businesses will be motivated by increased capital give their employees raises before they give a raise to themselves? Do you think business expand because of increased profit, or because of increased demand for the products that they sell?

    October 21, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  7. afm

    Most of commentators here never read Cain's 999 plan, otherwise it would have been clear to them that the poor would be exempted from income tax altogether. Regarding the VAT, all European countries charge VAT, and in most it is WAAY above 9%, even way above the highest state tax plus 9% altogether. To label VAT "regressive" is stupid. VAT makes all consumers equal, and this is FAIR. People should be taxed on what they consume, not on what they earn. In Europe income tax can reach more than 50% of the income and there are no deductions, which means that for 6 months a year one works for the government, whether he wants it or not, like in the days of Robin Hood. If this not REGRESSIVE, I do not know what is.

    October 21, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  8. A. Goodwin

    He lost me when he wanted me to say AMEN. 14% of america is agnostic/athiest.

    October 21, 2011 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  9. Patty

    All I know is under cains plan I would have paid 31.50 more in taxes along with my 27.78 in state taxes.for my 349.00 matress i bought on clearance . Almost 60.00 in taxes... 31.50 would feed me for a week.

    October 21, 2011 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. Stephen in VA

    Before today: 53%'ers said, "Poor aren't paying any taxes." Counter: "Yes, they're paying sales and property taxes, just not income tax." 53%'ers: "Whatever, it's still unfair."

    Today: Cain: "Poor won't pay any income tax, just sales tax and property tax." 53%'ers: "OMG, see, a Republican has a brilliant plan!"

    October 21, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Ken

    My vote so far is for Herman Cain. There is hardly anyone who is any better. Ron Paul close 2nd.

    However, I am more in favor of a scaled tax approach versus a flat tax rate. I'm not sure where the brackets should break but may it shouild sacle from 0% for poverty level and up by 1% at different brackets until you get to the flat tax of over $250,000 or so. The scaling should be such it wouildnt hurt you more to increase your pay.

    October 21, 2011 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Iolani

    Voodoo Economics 2

    October 21, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Funnyman

    Herman Caine is nothing but a smart dressed stand-up comedian!

    I laugh at most of the stuff he back paddles on and wonder what is next...

    October 21, 2011 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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