Cain promotes '9-9-9' tax plan, lays out his economic policies
September 5th, 2011
04:54 PM ET
8 years ago

Cain promotes '9-9-9' tax plan, lays out his economic policies

(CNN) - On the eve of rival Mitt Romney's speech announcing his own jobs plan, Republican presidential hopeful Herman Cain laid out his own plan for turning the sagging economy around.

Speaking Monday in South Carolina at the Palmetto Freedom Forum sponsored by Sen. Jim DeMint, R-South Carolina, Cain laid out his "bold" plan dubbed "9-9-9." The former businessman explained that he would do away with the existing tax code and replace it with a nine percent tax on corporate income, a nine percent tax on personal income and a nine percent national sales tax.

Asked by DeMint what he would do about the country's massive debt, Cain responded that "we must boost economic growth," adding that GDP growth of five or six percent would be a target to strive for. Then, citing his own experience from the business world, Cain said he favors an across-the-board cut to federal spending of, perhaps, ten percent. Cain would follow that up with a "deep dive" into the budget of each federal agency "to eliminate that programs that are, in fact, duplicative [and] outdated - based upon performance metrics – and eliminate a lot of those programs." Third, Cain said the federal government needs to "get serious" about restructuring the big entitlement programs like Social Security. On that score, Cain said he favors personal retirement accounts and pointed to the changes Chile made in its retirement savings program.

Cain told DeMint that he favors a legal requirement of balancing the federal budget. "I believe in a balanced budget amendment [to the Constitution]. Yes, because otherwise, we're not going to have the discipline in Washington in terms of collectively of getting that."

And Cain took a moment to blast the inside-the-Beltway thinking of some on Capitol Hill. "The idea in Washington, D.C. if you reduce the growth, that's a cut. That's not a cut. That's deceiving the American people," Cain explained as both DeMint and Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, listened.

Cain also told DeMint he would try to rein in the Federal Reserve Bank by asking Congress to limit the Fed's authority.

And echoing rival Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, Cain said Monday that "We have got to get back to sound money."

"Our dollar is suffering," said Cain. He added, "When we wake up in the morning, an hour is 60 minutes. We don't have to go look in the paper to see what it's worth. We've got to get back to a dollar is a dollar is a dollar."

Asked by DeMint whether he favored a return to a gold standard for U.S. currency to achieve that, Cain said, "Yes, we do need a gold standard to do that. We can work our way back to a standard – that's the only way we're going to make our currency, the currency that people around the world depend upon. So, yes, I do support establishing standards and there are many ways to do it in addition to a gold standard."

Filed under: 2012 • DeMint Labor Day Forum • Herman Cain • Jim DeMint • South Carolina • Taxes
soundoff (31 Responses)
  1. Religulous

    Its the inverted mark of the beast!

    September 5, 2011 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  2. RINO Bil

    Not a bad proposal. Would Cain end subsidies and tax credits to big companies too?

    September 5, 2011 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  3. Doug

    Mr. Cain makes me proud to be an American.

    Just like Rosa Parks not giving up her seat on that bus in Alabama, Mr. Cain advances Civil Rights in America by boldly standing up to the Democrats and the left who deny African Americans ideological freedom, and saying I don't care about your death threats, racist hate talk like calling him an uncle tom, I'm an individual with my own mind and my own beliefs.

    What a great story, his struggle, his journey to greatness, him fight against the racist Democrat party and their institutions in the media, educational system and their so called community organizers, symbolize everything that it means to be an American, an American who dedicates his life to making this a better nation, that's Hermann Cain.

    September 5, 2011 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. kfs

    The number of ways that this plan is insane is almost as extreme as the proposal. 9% national sales tax plus a 9% flat income tax wouldn't even be enough to fund the Department of Defense. Forget funding Congress, the Courts or the President, the three main parts of the Constitution.

    September 5, 2011 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. Allen G

    This is somewhat of a good idea if we didn't have to pay for roads, defense, entitlements, unemployment benefits and interest on our current debt. Now's not quite the time to lower income.

    September 5, 2011 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  6. Charles

    That tax rate would flat-out rape everyone but the filthy rich.

    September 5, 2011 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  7. T'sah from Virginia

    Cain got the numbers WRONG – Didn't he mean 666?????

    September 5, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. CommonSenseGuy

    This guy has been in the pizza business too long... 9-9-9 sounds like a pie promotion! What's next? Free wings with a $100 campaign donation? Also, what's with his plans of "3"? This 9-9-9 nonsense, bills should be no more than 3 pages long, etc. We don't need a simpleton in office trying to "dumb down" America.

    September 5, 2011 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  9. Indy

    He forgot to add that all Pizzas wlll be $9.99. 9% tax rate is laughable and not even close unless of course you shut the government down including roads, hospitals,military,etc. Only a doctator would propose such a silly plan, he obviously has very poor economic advisors at the pizza shop.

    September 5, 2011 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  10. Joe from CT, not Lieberman

    Uh, Doug, those Democrats you are railing about are all registered Republicans, now. These are the guys who have decided that Alabama does not require the state to educate children. Therefore no support for Public Schools. Therefore where do poor blacks and whites get educated?
    As far as his 9-9-9 plan, does this mean there would be NO deductions of any type? What about catastrophic medical expensses that are not covered by insurance (for those who can afford it)? What about Mortgage and College Tuition deductions? Oh, yeah, that's right – rich people can afford those without deductions.
    My biggest problem is with a 9% Federal Sales Tax. That is almost 2X what our state tax is, and will definitely hit the lower income folks a lot harder. I gather that Cain's solution to that would be to allow people to sell themselves into Indentured Servitude to pay for all his taxes. You know – just like the first Africans brought to America by the Dutch. Indentured Servents who were "freed" after their debts were paid. Funny how those never seemed to get paid off, isn't it?

    September 5, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. Arnie

    He learned all this making pizza pies? Wow, he must be a genius.

    September 5, 2011 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. SecedingfromTexas

    Do you think he passed this "political tribunal" held by the King and his court jesters? All five of the "contestants"
    are wimply little ring kissers. There would have been six, but one had to ride off on his white horse, water pistol
    in hand to help the firefighters. Uh, Guv, what took you so long?

    September 5, 2011 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. The Elephant In The Room

    Now we're talking numbers, so let's expose a few truths, shall we?

    Romney is attempting to perpetrate the lie that lower corporate taxes in America will bring jobs back from China. The top corporate tax rate in America is 35% but they don't even pay that much do to the manipulation of the tax code. Meanwhile wages [the reason companies relocate their manufacturing to China] are 80% LOWER THERE than here. Do the math. If we eliminated taxes ENTIRELY, we couldn't provide a PROFIT INCENTIVE to corporations to employ Americans. The answer is elsewhere.

    Now here comes Cain talking about raising SALES taxes. Does this man think things through? Raising "consumption taxes" transfers EVEN MORE of the burden onto the poor and middle class. This IS NOT what Americans say they want; remember those polls during the Debt Ceiling debate about the majority saying to RAISE taxes solely on the more wealthy portion of society?

    His 9% would naturally be ON TOP of the current STATE sales tax. So Cain would rather take MORE MONEY from poor mothers buying infant formula & Pampers for their children and use it to fund even lower tax rates for Corporations and Rich Americans.

    Herman, drop out. You don't stand a chance in hell of being President. Go sell your CD and your book and leave us alone.

    Say it with me Republicans, you are in denial : THERE IS NO CONNECTION BETWEEN LOWER TAXES AND MORE JOBS

    September 5, 2011 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  14. gina

    This tax plan is fantasatic. It gets rid of all corporate welfare and closes every loophole and ends every special interest deduction. Its also revenue neutral and gets rid of the 15% payroll tax.

    September 5, 2011 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. gina

    The best thing is it substantially increases incentives to produce. Under the current system, paying a 35% income tax means you keep 65 cents of every $. Under the 9-9-9 plan, you keep 91 cents of every $ earned. That's an increase of 40% in the marginal incentive to produce.

    September 5, 2011 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  16. w l jones

    Mr, Cain is another ( 1781 ) on a boat without a pal but have to give him credit he last longer that expected. But 999... 666 just wont get it done. Bless.

    September 5, 2011 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. Jane

    When you look at the complete selection of GOP candidates, Herman Cain towers above them all. Besides his successful business skills, another big plus, he is not a politician. He is a citizen who wants to serve his country and guide her back to prosperity. America wants jobs and Mr. Cain knows what businesses need to invest and provide those jobs. Mr. Cain does not believe in class warfare and redistribution of wealth. He says that that is just not the American way and he says that those beliefs have always failed in the past. Mr. Cain is who America needs. How wonderful would it be if we had a government that was run as a successful business? Mr. Cain has my vote and support.

    September 5, 2011 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  18. Jay

    9-9-9 is a gimmick that Cain imagines will capture what he thinks is the short attention span to the voters. Cain prescribes plastic surgery for gangrene, when what the patient needs is amputation. Paul is the only one telling it like is; Paul is the only one who talks to voters like they are adults. If CNN had any shame, I would expect it to be embarrassed for cutting away only during Paul’s time during the forum.

    September 5, 2011 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  19. azmary

    A 9% national sales tax plus the current state and local tax would mean most Americans would be paying between 18 and 20 percent in taxes on everything they buy. Just because there is a national sales tax, there is no reason to expect states, cities and counties to give up the tax they rely on for day to day expenses.

    September 5, 2011 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  20. mike35242

    Tax code reformation is noble but really unlikely. It would be great to have a flat tax code (I was thinking more like 20% for corporations and 17% for individuals, but I'm just a retired guy with no formal economics training) with NO deductions at all, but try to get that past congress and the voters – voters will say that the lower rate sounds great, but please just leave the deductions I use in the code, please; while corporations will continue to more corporate headquarters and their assets to Zug, Switzerland.

    A 9% fed sales tax, on top of state and local taxes, as almost everyone else has already pointed out, pushes the burden on those least able to afford it. It would only be worse if he'd suggested it be a VAT, applied at every level. What is Cain thinking?

    He's been a successful businessman, but maybe that means you don't have to be smart to be successful.

    Only those who are swayed by marketing hype will buy into 9-9-9 – it just sounds cool, doesn't it?!?! But, anyone with a brain knows it cannot and will not fly. Goodnight Mr Cain – back to the pizza oven for you!

    September 5, 2011 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  21. palatot

    Groupon, a 20 billion dollar US firm just moved its financial headquarters to Zug, Switzerland. The only reason for them to do that is to get better tax break. I dare say that if you ask them why they made that move, they'll tell you they are acting in the best interest of their shareholders. What about the interest of the US? Another typical example of corporate greed. Amd as most big business, they don't want to see Obama being re-elected because he wont' cave in to their demand for more freedom to be greedy in the name of the free enterprise system. Defeat them and vote Obama in the coming election.

    September 5, 2011 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. Daniel

    Turn those three numbers upside down and what do you get.....Anybody with a guess? Cain is really showing his true identity!

    September 5, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  23. SurRy

    What is it with these Teabagger and the number thing? Glen Beck always has some kind of number nonsense going on. What a bunch of half-wits.

    September 5, 2011 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. Larry L

    He has at least put his idea out for vetting. The rest of the Republicans offer nothing but sound bites and pledges from the Tea Party.

    September 5, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  25. thomas

    Why not 666 or 888 ?

    September 5, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
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