Santorum's 0-0-0 for Cain's 9-9-9
October 11th, 2011
11:17 AM ET
10 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. bob

    a zero corporate tax at least puts on the books what they basically all do anyways. It's pretty sad when Santorum is the most sane GOP candidate...

    October 11, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. Rhs98

    I don't like the 999 plan, but I am so tired of hearing the Dems and GOP alike crying about all of the problems with our revenue without offering a solution. I know something has to change, we all do. At least Cain is presenting something he thinks will work instead of just talking about what doesn't. I respect him for that, even if he doesn't get my vote.

    October 11, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  3. Mitt Who ?

    The government can not create permanent jobs unless it itself grows larger.
    I myself am for laying off several thousand IRS employees. Lets simplify the tax code.
    A flat rate is fair.

    October 11, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. bob

    A national sales tax is extremely repressive to elderly poor people. They get no benefit out of the fact that they won't pay Social Securty tax and end up with a large sales tax. Any drastic change from our current income tax to a flat tax will in general help rich and working people and hurt poor and elderly people. People in tax brackets like Herman Cain would be the biggest benefactors of all.
    Simple changes to complex problems are what gets us further in trouble!

    October 11, 2011 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  5. Cedar Rapids

    "Alex – What a national sales tax does is it forces EVERYONE to contribute to the services we all use and need. Right now, nearly half of the country doesn't pay federal income tax,"

    Because they dont earn damn enough to be taxed that is why. Sure, why not turn around and say tax the already poor to save the rich.

    October 11, 2011 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. Dan

    Rick Santorum is my new favorite Boob. Seriously, everything that comes from this douse-bag's mouth is priceless. If Ricky thinks he can run the federal government on no taxes than he's truly lost whatever's left of his "ultra right" conservative mind. Sorry Rick, at the end of the day the only thing folks will remember you from is that gay website (do a Google search for Santorum and you'll see what I'm talking about).

    October 11, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. CRB

    When it comes to Cain (and he is a good man – no question), America needs a leader – not a rich grandfather.

    October 11, 2011 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  8. GaryB

    Santorum is right; Cain's plan is terrible for most Americans. Most average families currently making less than $65,000 per year would actually pay more in taxes under Cain's 9-9-9, plan, and the benefit to the rest of the middle class in general would be negligible at best. Santorums plan, however, is a non-plan. Many corporations, after loopholes and deductions already pay close to 0% in taxes (and it's been pretty much proven that lowering corporate tax rates alone rarely leads to higher employment).

    October 11, 2011 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. Mark

    And why did Pennsylvania vote him out? Because his ideas are unpopular.

    October 11, 2011 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    Everybody should pay something. 47% of the population pays nothing. America is heading to Socialism and that doesn't work. Europe is switching back.

    October 11, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. Chuck

    All of these potential republican candidates have so much baggage that not one of them is impressing enough for me to like any of them. And now we hear that Cain was told by GOD to run for president. I am such a believer in Freud that religion is truly a mental illness.

    October 11, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  12. Rudy NYC

    Alex wrote:
    What a national sales tax does is it forces EVERYONE to contribute to the services we all use and need.
    True. But, did you know that:
    -it was Republicans who first introduced progressive tax rates?
    -most of those who pay no taxes make around 15,000/year, or have no taxable income at all?
    -asking someone making 15k/yr on SSI to 9% + 9% will double their effective rate?
    -a national sales tax is just as constitutional/unconstitutional as federally mandated health care?

    October 11, 2011 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  13. frpdp1008

    How can we then tax some 20 million or more elderly that live on Social Security alone. All their lives they paid a tax (FICA) into the system, and now that they get benefits from it (small as those benefits are, they are usually the difference between struggling for existence, and absolute poverty living on the streets).

    So now this monster Cain (as in Cain and Able in the bible?) wants to tax those benefits? Would that not then be called double taxation??

    It might just do these idiotic Republicans some good to remember that the elderly are the largest single voting block in this nation. If they continue to forget that then President Obama is going to crush them like a bug come 2012!!!!

    October 11, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. slkwly

    Ancient Texan

    Everybody should pay something. 47% of the population pays nothing. America is heading to Socialism and that doesn't work. Europe is switching back.


    I get so tired of hearing 'acient Texan' (name says it all, if someone ges a paycheck these days (if they are lucky), each time they get paid, they pay taxes, state,federal, FICA, etc. If, at the end of the year, while using an IRS-supplied standard deduction for self or family (adjusted gross income), they are then found to not have have made enough to pay further tax, then they owe no more or qualify for a refund. Most people in this case, as I'm sure even you can figure out, are in no way living well and are at, below or very near the poverty line. So stop using the tired old matra saying half the country pays no taxes. Now if you want to talk about the 15% tax on capiatl gains that the folks you seem to defend pay, the we can have a serious debate about how to get everyone to pay their fair share....

    October 11, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  15. logic in LA

    Cain's 9-9-9- is great in theory but reality means ids needs work. It's fine to have a flat tax until you look at some of his features. 9% sales tax would translate to nearly 20% here in CA. He says his plan doe snot hurt the poor but when a pair of 30.00 jeans becomes 36.00 or that computer a kid needs for school goes from 400.00 to 480.00 even the middle class will start feeling the pinch. think of a car! 20,000.00 Now 24,000. And 9% corporate tax is fine if they take away all of the loop holes and make it a tax on the gross income, after payroll and cost of goods. But that will never happen either.

    October 11, 2011 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  16. fredconklin

    Given the choice, I would take Cain's plan over the system we have right now. I would prefer removal of the income tax entirely – by using a tiered VAT (Value Added Tax) that applies to ALL transactions. The tier system would increase as the value of the transaction increased. The VAT would apply to transactions required in the manufacturing processes including the transactions between internal corporate entities. BUT there must be NO EXEMPTIONS of any kind.

    October 11, 2011 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  17. TheTraveler

    Let the feeding frenzy begin!

    October 11, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. kinglywarrior

    How has the "9-9-9" chant not drawn comparisons to Hitler? It makes much more sense than playing golf with the "enemy"...

    October 11, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  19. Jake

    I'm voting for Christie or Palin!

    October 11, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  20. mtnmedic

    Typical GOP. They fight the jobs bill, the fight Obama, they fight sensible fiscal reform, they fight the notion to end the wars, and they even fight other GOP candidates. That's all they do...pick fights. Like the neighborhood bully.

    October 11, 2011 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. Matt STL

    To the comments of half the nation not paying taxes, what could spark the economy and show ethics from the corporations is to have start some sort of a profit sharing program for employees instead of a feed bonus fund. In some cases this may bring the people into the higher tax brackets where they would pay, and they would have some disposable income to energize the market. Henry Ford is known for popularizing the assembly line in the automotive industry, but one other thing people often overlook is that he paid one of the highest wages. After all if there's no one who can buy the products, why produce them?

    October 11, 2011 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  22. GreenieInPA

    Santorum – Your 15 minutes of fame was up years ago. Please shut-up and go away.

    October 11, 2011 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  23. T'sah from Virginia

    With Cain's 9-9-9, there are no more tax credits??!!! What about "loopholes?" Are the loopholes still available for the rich so they can reduce their taxes down to 0%??

    Cain claims we don't understand his plan but yet, there's NOTHING out there that addresses the details!! They're still "working" on it? Really? Yep, just make it up as you go along!!

    In the meantime-time-time, Obama/Biden instead of 9-9-9!!!

    October 11, 2011 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  24. Reggie from LA

    Just an observiation, mind you. Don't be mad at me.
    Cain actually hasn't changed is plan much since he was barely on the radar as a viable GOP candidate. As of late however, he has been critical of the poor, unemployed and African Americans, asserting that their condition has been a matter of their own undoing, all things equal on out national "playing field". First and regardless of what Rush says, it ain't level. 2nd, people are still struggling even after applying the majic formula of education, hard work and persistence. Interesting how after his exploitative pointing out of the evils of the struggling class, his popularity is rising. How do we say, "I'm just sayin".

    October 11, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  25. Rick McDaniel

    Santorum's proposal, is obviously not workable, and of zero importance, because it is unworkable.

    The government has to be funded, one way or another, and these days they seem to find new fees, licenses, and other hidden taxes, on a daily basis, especially on the state and local levels, to keep money flowing.

    The Federal Government, is spending faster than it takes in, and is bent on bankrupting the country, with spending, no matter how much they raise taxes. that's what you get, with the welfare party Democrats........every time.

    October 11, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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