Letterman offers Cain his 9-9-9 plan
November 18th, 2011
08:32 AM ET
7 years ago

Letterman offers Cain his 9-9-9 plan

(CNN) - Leave it to one of the kings of late night comedy to press Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain on his "9-9-9" tax plan and offer up his own suggestion to the former pizza executive.

"You ought to get some sort of toll-free number," Letterman told Cain in an interview set to air Friday. "You dial 9-9-9, you get a free pizza."

Although the plan is "clever" and "fun," Letterman, host of CBS' "Late Show with David Letterman," told Cain: "You don't even know what it means."

Cain's response? "It works."

The candidate's tax plan, a pillar of his White House bid, proposes replacing the current tax system with a 9% corporate tax, 9% income tax and 9% national tax rate.

"Instead of a free pizza when you dial 9-9-9 you're going to be able to get a job, that's the whole point, OK?" Cain said. "I'm about creating jobs."

But Letterman countered that the economy may be "beyond solvability at this point," to which Cain jokingly responded, "Are you trying to talk me out of this? He's trying real hard to talk me out of this."

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain
soundoff (169 Responses)
  1. Jose Wan Sekiavich

    And inbetween the 9 -9-9 plan, they'll put taxes for 8, 7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and before long, it will be worse than it is now!

    November 18, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  2. Tex71

    I would far rather trust Letterman as President than any of the GOP candidates.
    "9-9-9" is the kind of tax plan that the Kramer character from Seinfeld would cook up.

    November 18, 2011 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  3. inrealityhere

    "You don't even know what it means." Well one things for sure; it means something far superior to "Obamacare" which we all now know means: if the Supremes say it's constitutional (which it is not) the deal is sealed as far as this country no longer being the Land of the Free. Yeah, we've been tolerating our rights being taken away little by little but this will push us over the edge. PLEASE don't bring up mandatory auto insurance! No one is forced into driving a car!!!

    November 18, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  4. Chipster

    Now, Republicans are planning to use the President's comments about our government being a little lazy with our efforts to promote our businesses and products overseas. We've made it easy and cheap for foreign companies to sell their products in the U.S. We've given tax incentives to U.S. businesses to move out of the country (Cheney & Rove said "outsourcing is good for America!). So, now the ever so bright GOP candidates have pulled the word "lazy" out of context and made bogus TV ads that claim the President said American workers are lazy. Everyone already knows which political party thinks Americans don't want to work, don't we?

    If they cannot win on the truth, they won't hesitate at deception – didn't we learn that with WMD's in Iraq and false claims of Saddam Hussein's ties to Al Qaeda. The question is: will Americans still fall for their distortions, misleading claims, trickery like this sorry episode, and outright lies?

    November 18, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  5. Martin

    You dial 999 in England you're gonna have emergency services really, really annoyed with you.

    November 18, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  6. Wondering

    A 9% sales tax, on top of most states' sales taxes, would mean up to 16% sales tax on most things we buy. Some Canadian provinces have 17% sales taxes, which pays for all their heallth care plus other things. We'd be paying that and getting NO health care, plus we'd be making it harder for people to afford everyday things, which would lower demand and cause many more lost jobs. Gee, what a good plan, Herman. His plan would be a huge present in the form of lower taxes from big corporations and the wealthy, of course, which is what he wants, what all the Republicans want. They trick the poor and the less educated middle-class by telling them it's all about issues like abortion, gun rights, and gay marriage, when really it's about taking away from them to give to the already wealthy. Tax breaks do NOT create jobs – if they did, there'd be plenty of jobs cause the big corporations and the wealthy have had tax breaks for a decade and...where are the jobs? Don't let the right-wing pundits fool you, they're not concerned about abortion, gun rights or gay marriage..that's a ploy, folks, and lots of you have been suckered in. The old GOP is dead. The new GOP is NOT for the people, unless it's the 1%.

    November 18, 2011 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. Don

    Ya gotta love Letterman. Cain missed the opportunity, but Letterman was trying to let him down gently and clue Cain in to how he was being used by the GOP – with no real hope of being President. Letterman was giving Cain a way out...and perhaps Cain will figure that out days from now.


    November 18, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Saul Quinn

    9-9-9 is an insipid political ploy and can not be implemented to keep our country afloat and out of debt. Senseless babble.

    Cain is as close to useful knowledge as Rick Perry is close to understanding what he is supposed to say each day. You see Perry is just a puppet on a string lifted by corrupt advisers.

    November 18, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. thomdetroit

    Would somebody tell me exactly how this = jobs?

    November 18, 2011 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  10. LouAz

    Even Letterman can't make Cain's ineptitude funny.

    November 18, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  11. blf83

    Letterman, Stewart, Colbert, and Kimmel all have better ideas for governing than does Cain. Cain raised Cain, he lowered Cain.

    November 18, 2011 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  12. A disgusted former Republican

    Cain needs to explain how dialing 9-9-9 is going to get one a job. Remember, government doesn't provide jobs, private interprise does. Is Cain proposing to expand government jobs? That doesn't seem to be a conservative idea.

    November 18, 2011 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. Ricky

    I am not paying 9% sales for federal. we already have 8% from CALI. So that would mean 15% sales tax

    November 18, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. Wait...Whatt??

    Dave's right – Uncle Charlie should just stick to selling pizzas...

    November 18, 2011 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. Leon

    Why is Letterman still on the air?

    November 18, 2011 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  16. jack

    Yes, Letterman was trying to talk you out of running and so are the rest of us.

    November 18, 2011 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  17. RJ

    Finally someone in the media is actually pressing Cain on specifics of the 999 plan.. Why does it take Jon Stewart or David Letterman to do "Dan Rather" reporting? Oh yes, the media bosses fire non-comedians who ask tough questions.

    November 18, 2011 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  18. jshah

    Because he's funny

    November 18, 2011 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Rudy NYC

    Ricky wrote:
    I am not paying 9% sales for federal. we already have 8% from CALI. So that would mean 15% sales tax
    "It's not about ideology. It's about simple math." Barack Obama, President of the United States

    November 18, 2011 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. unsub

    the joke is over! Cain must go! NEXT!

    November 18, 2011 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  21. Republican for Obama

    I am sticking with Obama. My Party is lost.

    November 18, 2011 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. Mike

    According to what I've read, and assuming no more deductions, 47% of the people who don't pay any income tax now, will have to pay 9% under Cain's 9-9-9 plan. This 47% is also the group most likely to spend most of their income just to get by. So this will be another 9% tax when they spend their money. (assuming they had any money saved from before, the 9% sales tax will also hit this money if they spend it) So the poor and lower middle class take an 18% hit plus another 9% on savings if they spend any. The rich, many of them paying 15% on capital gains and dividends under the Bush tax cuts will now pay only 9%, a reduction of 6$. If they only have to pay 9% on what they buy (assuming investments purchases and savings deposits are not taxed), that 6% cut would probably far exceed what they would pay under the 9% sales tax unless they bought a multimillion dollar yacht or home. (It wouldn't surprise me if somehow the yacht or home purchase would be exempt.) This is just another tax cut for the rich and really sticking it to everybody else.

    November 18, 2011 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. GI Joe

    It's official - Cain is NOT able.

    By the way Rudy NYC, 9 + 8 = 17%.

    November 18, 2011 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  24. Cane or Bush

    When a man shows he cannot keep up with a current event that has front and center stage with tv news, newspapers, the internet and party conversations, its says that man is living in his own isolated foolish world. Cain claims God told him to run for the president. What he doesn't remember was God told him to NOT to run for the president. And God has a good reason. America doesn't need another Fool on the Hill.

    November 18, 2011 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  25. Bamboo Cain

    Cain's original idea was the 6-6-6 plan. Thank goodness his staff set that straight. Then he came up with the 6-9 plan and his staff laughed at that too. Herman's idea for US economics is for this nation to become a human centipede. It rolls down hill!

    November 18, 2011 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
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