Letterman offers Cain his 9-9-9 plan
November 18th, 2011
08:32 AM ET
6 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. Rudy NYC

    Mike wrote:
    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$.
    Mr. Cain's 9-9-9 plan calls for a complete elimination of all capital gains taxes. Please excuse me while I take the liberty to revise your math. The hedge fund manager would still pay 9% on purchases (made in the United States, mind you), but his federal income tax on capital gains income would be reduced to zero.

    Mr. Cain's 9% sales tax is only for "new" items purchased in the US. By his current definition that would include "new homes", which completely devastate an already struggling market. But, the hedge fund manager who moves into an existing home that some poor middle class family was forced to foreclose on would pay no national sales tax.

    November 18, 2011 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  2. Vern

    I wouldn't vote for this guy, but the libya thing I kind of understand, he just isn't explaining it right. As a president you are privileged to "insider information" that as a candidate you don't have. This may be the point he is trying to make and FAILING to do. It's like many campaign promises that get broke, once the dude is in office he gets the lowdown on promised subject and has to say OOPS, can't do that one sorry folks.

    November 18, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. newt

    Cain is just a diversion. He is a sink for journalists, and air time. He is the wrong question in the spotlight, which takes the heat off the other, less un-viable GOP contenders.

    November 18, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. Rudy NYC

    G.I. Joe wrote:
    By the way Rudy NYC, 9 + 8 = 17%.
    I think you meant to post that for Ricky, not me.
    I always enjoy your posts.

    November 18, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. stormeagle

    I still say 9-9-9 sounds like a formula for a lawn fertilizer. Maybe kind of symbolic.

    November 18, 2011 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Bob Boise

    A tax preparer friend pointed out to me that the problem with a Natl Sales Tax is:
    1. If it is on all transactions, by the time it hits the consumer a manufactured item may have gone through four to five taxations which will make the more "processed" items the most taxed.
    2. If you use a "Value Added Tax", then businesses will still be able to deduct all kinds of phony business costs (the corporate board vacation to Cabo San Lucas) to determine the actual profit being taxed.
    So the only fair system is the flat transanction tax of 1. and the costs will be sent to the consumer.
    A flat income tax is not fair because rich business owners and corporations can still write off all their phony expenses to determine net "income", whereas the 99% of the working class cannot write off anything because their income is all taxable.

    November 18, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Bob Boise

    The other tax which hasn't been mentioned is upon "net worth and possessions". So a poor person renting with no savings has no liability, whereas the guy with the boat, and toys, and the millions in stock...pays a lot. It would be an annual estate tax? Of course, the rancher and the small business owner would be hit hard, but.....it would be the least regressive

    November 18, 2011 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    Four and The Door wrote:

    The 9-9-9 tax plan is brilliant even if it does bring about a national sales tax.
    I am forced to agree with you on that point. 9-9-9 is brililant. It is a clever camoflauge for reducing taxes on those who least need tax cuts. While at the same time it drives up the annual deficit, which would require further spending cuts, thereby self-fulfilling the argument that government spends too much.

    November 18, 2011 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Woman In California

    Still think this whole "presidency thing" is a joke right Cain?

    November 18, 2011 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  10. bedwetter777

    Cain's "9-9-9" plan is a farce and will never work. My "8.3572-8.3572-8.3572" plan is much more realistic. Pull your head out of the clouds Herman and go with my "8.3572-8.3572-8.3572" plan.

    November 18, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Donald Trump

    What the U.S needs right now, is a candidate to step up to the plate, and put America back on their toes again! Who is this candidate? Donald Trump. Cain doesnt have the experience to back him up, he's a delivery man people! Donald Trump has the business ablilty to create jobs, and actually listens to the people! U.S is a laughstoke at the momment, and Trump will be good, especially with China and his propostions for that country!

    November 18, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  12. Randy

    Politics as comedy. Not. All these candidates appearing on comedy shows as if they're celebs trying to get fans. American politics: Can it sink any lower?

    November 18, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  13. A. Goodwin

    The joke will be on us if Cain really DOES get the presidential nomination and actually implements his crazy plan!

    November 18, 2011 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. gg

    maybe shipping jobs overseas the last 30 yr,s while the population was growing was not a good idea–who thought that one up

    November 18, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. tj66

    Of course The Enconomy is unsolvable. The problem is Politicans keep trying to solve it!

    November 18, 2011 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  16. Rudy NYC

    bedwetter777 wrote:

    Cain's "9-9-9" plan is a farce and will never work. My "8.3572-8.3572-8.3572" plan is much more realistic.
    Your figure's too high. Lower it. How about the "3.14259 – 3.14259 – 3.14259" plan? You can call it the "Pi – Pi – Pi" Plan.

    November 18, 2011 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. detada

    Don't worry, Mr. Cain. Voters will talk you out of it by voting for someone else.

    November 18, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. Peggy - TX

    Four and The Door wrote: " The 9-9-9 tax plan is brilliant ..."

    Ha ha ha, I get the joke! That is just too funny. “Brilliant” like in “brilliant” marketing strategy, verses “brilliant” like in a viable pan.

    Yes it is indeed brilliant, but really –check: the Republican brand is now close to dirt.

    So, sadly for intelligent conservatives everywhere, what may be brilliant Marketing strategy for selling Cain is also quite effectively adding to the fastly eroding brand of the once creditable and powerful Republican political party.

    November 18, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  19. TomInRochNY

    No, Herman, you are working very hard trying to convince Americans to not make you president.

    November 18, 2011 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  20. m.browne

    Letterman is a typical left coast liberal communist marxist socialist Democrat comedian.....he is an idiot. If he said something like this about Obama when he was a candidate for President, Letterman would have been raked over the coals by the liberal news media, Jesse Jackson and all other black antagonists/anarchists.

    Because Cain is black and a conservative.....that makes it allright with liberals, Democrats, Jesse, NAACP, and all other whiners in America, plus the liberal news media CBS, NBC, ABC, PBS and the like. Libs call conservatives racist......now thats a good one for the record books, and by the way......quite untrue....Libs look at yourselves for a change................

    November 18, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. Tony in Maine

    The whole Cain thing is "Performance Art" according to Rachel Maddow. I really think she's correct. Though I wouldn't be so kind. It's really just a gigantic book tour that got out of hand. I bet Palin is jealous.

    November 18, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  22. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    OK so Herman's 9-9-9 plan might not be perfect but it sure beats Obama's 9-9-9 plan! (9 rounds of golf a month, 9 vacations a year, 9% unemployment)

    November 18, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  23. GOPlaughingstock

    Thanks Dave for seeing right through this chump.

    November 18, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  24. Lenny Pincus

    It's gotta be rough for the principled patriots of the right wing when a guy like me knows more about history, economics, and foreign policy than their anointed leaders.

    November 18, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Rsprings

    I wonder why Cain went on Letterman? Hardly anyone watches that show.

    November 18, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
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