Santorum's 0-0-0 for Cain's 9-9-9
October 11th, 2011
11:17 AM ET
11 years ago

Santorum's 0-0-0 for Cain's 9-9-9

Manchester, New Hampshire (CNN) - Appearing poised for another feisty debate performance, former Sen. Rick Santorum is focusing his conservative barbs on newly-ascendant candidate Herman Cain.

Santorum's criticism at a campaign stop of the former Godfather's Pizza CEO is one sign that Cain will experience the traditional role of a front-runner in the debate Tuesday night: that of punching bag.

Cain has surged in popularity in recent weeks, in part due to his signature plan to do away with almost all current taxes and replace them with a flat 9% tax on income, a 9% corporate tax and a 9% national sales tax. The policy has become a catch phrase on the trail and is an example of Cain's straight-talking style that has resonated with conservatives.

Speaking to reporters outside a diner in Manchester Tuesday morning, Santorum immediately launched into a critique of Cain's 9-9-9 policy.

Calling himself the true conservative in the race, Santorum positioned himself to the right of Cain on taxes.

"Zero-zero-zero is better than 9-9-9," he said Tuesday, a reference to his plan to eliminate the corporate tax rate for manufacturers and dismantle Obama-era regulations. The mantra echoes criticism Santorum made about Cain's plan at the Values Voter Summit on Friday.

Santorum pointed out Tuesday the state of New Hampshire does not impose a sales tax and likened Cain's plan to a tax increase.

"Herman Cain now wants to impose a 9% sales tax, not just on New Hampshire but on every state in the country," Santorum said. "I don't think giving the federal government a new tax is tax reform. I think it's going to be punitive to a lot of people."

The two-term Pennsylvania senator barely registers in national polls but has stood out in recent GOP debates by landing blows against his competitors from the right.

Cain's second-place standing in several national polls earned him a central spot at the Tuesday night at Dartmouth College. Cain will be seated next to front-runner and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, with Texas Gov. Rick Perry in the next seat over from Cain. In recent debates Perry had shared center stage with Romney.

Also see:

Debate the first showdown since dramatic changes in GOP field

Romney camp labels Perry a 'desperate candidate'

New website, old attacks on Romney

Filed under: 2012 • Herman Cain • New Hampshire • Rick Santorum
soundoff (91 Responses)
  1. Pat in il

    Neither plan is intelligent or realistic. Come on republicans, read some history and economics and come up with something that actually makes sense.

    October 11, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Branden wrote:
    It does appear that the Cain's plan is missing a 9. There isn't any reason that capital gains shouldn't be taxed at the same rate.
    Now *that* is a good question. Where is that last nine, anyway? It doesn't exist, literally.

    What Cain is not mentioning too often, except for when he mumbles it out at GOP debates, is that he would completely eliminate capital gains taxes. He rationalizes it away the old argument that it is a double tax.

    October 11, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. Larry L

    Each plan is about votes from people too stupid to understand the ramifications of the plan. It's like Bachman's "plan" to have $1.49 gas – not about reality but just said to attract the interest of the Tea Party mentality.

    How about eliminating the tax break and loopholes for the rich and eliminating the earned income payment? Eliminate the ceiling for Social Security payroll deductions and adjust the deduction percentage in relation to the GDP – paying a basic stipend plus a bonus payment during good years. Offer plans for Medicare that reward healthy lifestyles and punish those who choose to destroy their health. Reward health care providers who take Medicare with tax breaks, educational loans and grants, and "stock" incentives in the Medicare System. Import drugs from Canada and other locations producing the same products at much cheaper prices.

    A lot of ideas are out there... Compromise and compassion are required.

    October 11, 2011 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Kenny K

    @Rudy NYC

    Which is worse, a society where government owns and controls all of the businesses, or a society where businesses own and control all of the government? Better yet, what's the difference between the two?
    They are both on opposite ends of a spectrum. Rich people will not maintain a community; government will.

    October 11, 2011 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  5. texan

    Peel the BS back and you can clearly see the benefits a flat tax and national sales tax will have on the middle and lower income brackets. ZERO-- NADA - ZIPPO - Their future "assumptions" are just that- assumptions based on hope. Republicans want a flat tax/ national sales tax; they see the benefits.

    October 11, 2011 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  6. Floyd

    Okay, for some of you economically illiterate people out there thinking this is a good plan, this WILL effectivly decimate the poor and give the rich more money.
    Consider this fact, the higher ones income, the lower their marginal propensity to consume (i.e. a person making $10k will spend damn near every penny on goods and services. someone making $10M will spend more total, but won't spend $10M on goods and services). therefore, a person making $10k will be taxed 9% on income and 9% on everything they bought with all their money, making a total tax bill (for you math nerds out there) 17%. how does that compare to where they are right now? a little higher, about the same. For the person making $10M, they will be taxed at the same 9% on income, but will only hit the total 17% tax rate if they spend every penny they made, compare that to what they pay right now, it's MUCH LOWER.

    October 11, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Save the Rich, vote GOP

    so I know regulations are "evil," but we have a mining company in Colorado that refuses to clean up uranium leaking into the drinking water, an oil company in Michigan that was just ordered to do a better cleanup of its oil spill into local rivers and streams, yet the right wants less regulations. Is there plan to turn this country into a wasteland? I 'know" corporations are stewards of the environment but this is just a bunch of bull. Corporations look to make the most profit, it that causes discrimination in the work place, pollution, etc. they don't give a damn, but we are supposed to un-regulate them so they can make more profits which they ship offshore into tax havens? I just don't get it.

    October 11, 2011 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  8. Aunt Rachel

    Paid property taxes in New Hampshire lately? TWICE what the same house would be across the border in Massachusetts if you can believe that. Although liquor is cheap. 😀

    October 11, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. AlaskaPalin

    Are we really talking about the united states of america. Obama and all of these republican politicians must be sick. When the only credible tax plan is this kindergarten (sound and visual) '9-9-9' it tells me that our country is indeed in decline. Where is the leadership that mankind the world over had looked up to. The american people are perplexed even in a state of shock at what has happened to leadership in America.

    October 11, 2011 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  10. Terry Gloege

    People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

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


    1) It eliminates a tax code and replaces it with one with even wider loop holes, such as zero capital gains tax.

    2) It would get rid of the IRS, and then no one would pay taxes because there would be no one to enforce them.

    3) It takes more money away from people who live paycheck to paycheck, which is about 90% of us. Imposing a tax on only so called "new goods" means people can import *new goods" and not pay any sales taxes. Such a policy would destroy the US auto industry, the housing industry, and cause runaway inflation. The poor currently pay no taxes for fresh food, but under Cain they would have to pay taxes for brand new apples. Your math is highly flawed.

    October 11, 2011 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  12. portland tony

    At least Cain has a plan. The 9% sales tax resembles the value added tax (VAT) that the EU uses. But it really doesn't matter. Eveni if God were elected President in 2012 he would still have to deal with "those fools on the hill" Too much is being made of the Presidential election. It's the Congressional elections that are important.

    October 11, 2011 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  13. Rudy NYC

    Kenny K wrote:
    They are both on opposite ends of a spectrum. Rich people will not maintain a community; government will.
    Sorry, My translator is busted. Rich people are notorious for living in, and maintaining their own private little gated communities.

    I notice you cannot tell me the difference. The net result is the same.

    October 11, 2011 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. Monica

    Santorum, not surprisingly does not know what Cain's plan is. It has three stages that would ultimately get rid of any but consumption tax. A great idea where you can control how much in taxes you pay, where the rich pay the most, the poor pay the least, but everyone on American soil pays. That's what fair is – listen, Occupy Wall Street children.

    October 11, 2011 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. J

    Don't forget that the bottom 47% that don't pay taxes control a whole 0.7% of the weath in the US. Can't squeeze blood from a turnip.

    October 11, 2011 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  16. Anne

    999. 000....How simple minded can you get? I guess there was a memo handed out that the only requirment for the plan was that it should have 3 single digit numbers in common. Don't bother the people with details, we are too stupid to understand

    October 11, 2011 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
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