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. Michael Wong

    Silly Americans. You thought you revolted for "freedom" but you actually revolted so rich elites could pay lower taxes while using poor people and dark-skinned slaves to do their work for them. Looks like not much has changed after two centuries.

    October 11, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  2. john

    Harry Bellafonte could not have said it any better, Cain is a bad apple. Mr. Cain couldn't care less about the blacks, whites, hispanics or anyone else. His only concern is about Herman Cain and how to make himself wealthier at the expense of the little guy. Oh! I forgot, he is a replublican

    October 11, 2011 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  3. ClydeTheSlyde

    I think he's confused. 0-0-0 is his polling numbers!

    October 11, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. Sanctimonious

    Rick has absolutely no value. He is a complete waste of a suit. So it great fun to see him rip into the republican hypocrite of the moment.

    October 11, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. Rudy NYC

    To the complaints about 1/2 the country not paying taxes, my message to you is simple. If we didn't have minimum wage laws, then more than 3/4 of the country wouldn't be paying any taxes.

    October 11, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  6. mdn

    Santorum should bring out the "666" plan. He will drive the country to Hell with the help of the evangelicals and George Bush.

    October 11, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. Drew

    EEnie, meenie, miey mo catch a president by his toe if he(she) hollars ley him go eenie, meenie, miney mo

    October 11, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Evil Hollywood Liberal

    Rick Santorum is right. Rich people and corporations (who, we have learned, are people too), shouldn't pay ANY taxes, because they were smart enough to be successful. Only the poor and middle class should pay taxes – that will motivate them to be successful and get rich, and join those who are their social betters, in not paying taxes.

    October 11, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |

    I SUPPORT OCCUPY WALL ST! 99% need to make it clear stop billionaires and millionaires having to much power over our political system. Stop "CITIZEN UNTIED" ruling. Money is not free speech! Karl Rove "Cross Roads" super pack should not have that much power in our political system. Demand to change the IRS tax codes on "Super Packs" or tax them at 95%!

    October 11, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Bert in UT

    So let's see. Cain's 9-9-9 will make it so the poor and middle class pay higher taxes via a national sales tax and corporations will pay less via a 9% corporate rate. Santorum's plan will eliminate taxes altogether and let us go back to a no government anarchy until either Mexico or Canada invades and takes us over. Wow, such great alternatives.

    October 11, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  11. HillBilly

    1) WOW, some of the crap people post on here is so off base. The US has a high corporate tax rate, but with deductions and loopholes, the EFFECTIVE tax rates for corporations in this country is low and some cases corporations pay 0. It's not a black white argument, there are some nuisances that the vast majority leave out when talking about corporate tax rates. Comparing tax rates across countries is tricky as well because different nations have different tax laws. So it's not an apple to apple comparison.
    2) Stop with stupid 47% pay no taxes. Everyone pays taxes in some for or another. This is just a stupid Fox /Tea/Republican talking point. Gas tax, sales tax, etc...
    3) You want the rich to create jobs and invest in America, change the capital gains tax to 35%. I promise you that once the tax deductions and loopholes are factored in, the RICH will put more there money back to industry. There is a huge benefit currently of keeping your money in Wall Street. Change the tax code, see how all the sudden money flows back into industry.
    4) 999 is joke. If you don't know why, then go learn you something.

    October 11, 2011 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  12. The Real Tom Paine

    It does not take a PhD in Economics to see this plan would blow the debt up even more, and imposing a national sales tax at a time when we need increased consumer spending is just folly: this would kill consumer spending. This does not even factor into account the fact that state and local governments routinely use sales taxes bring in revenue as well: this, combined with increased local and state levies, would blow our effective tax rate far beyond what we are paying now, and it would be on everything we spend money on. It does not matter if I have less taken out up front, it would be chewed up every time I buy groceries or anything else, and that's not even taking into account the increases at the state and local levels that are sure to follow. His model does not take into account what people do when they are confronted with a tax increase on everything they buy: it stifles purchasing, and for people on low and/ orfixed incomes, it would drive them into poverty. This is an utterly irresponsible plan.

    October 11, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. 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?

    October 11, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  14. Drew

    No matter how you slice it whether you vote and get Dems or Rebs it's the same crap. Neither one is worth a darn at the economy and the only difference between them is their religious beliefs and social programs that benefit the rest of us or the lack there of.

    October 11, 2011 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. Casual Observer

    Mr. Santorum is not running for president, as anyone with an ounce of fiscal sense would have already pulled the plug on his campaign. Realistically, he's lobbying for a role in the next GOP adminstration by being LOUD and perpetuating senseless garbage until something sticks. Who is financing Mr. Santorum's campaign and what do they want?

    October 11, 2011 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. Pete from St Paul

    9-9-9 is stupid and flies in the face of the 10th Amendment. On the other hand 0-0-0 is even more stupid. Ah yes! Santoto means privatize everything and let the police (guards) be the arm "dogs" of the rich.
    Animal Farm?

    October 11, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Phattee

    "Cain's straight-talking style that has resonated with conservatives."

    Call it that if you want. It's the same thing Fox, Palin, and other right wing talking-point dispensers have been doing for years: reducing complex issues to simple, grossly-oversimplified platitudes.

    October 11, 2011 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. Ringer

    Some of you don't seem to understand the significance of 47% not paying taxes. There is a voting block of people who DON'T PAY TAXES. They want to keep it that way too. When a democracy reaches a point where more than half the people pay nothing but can still vote, you have the exact recipe for a socialist system to take over the system entirely that robs the wealth from the working and gives it to the voting block who do nothing for it.

    Mr. Cain's plan may not be perfect (I would like to see capital gains declared as income and therefor taxed at 9%) but it does three very important things.

    1) It eliminates the overly complex tax code now that allows for "loop holes". Under Cain's plan there is no such thing as a loop hole.

    2) It thrashes the budget for the IRS. No more need for so many IRS agents to act as police.

    3) It gives MORE money to the people at the end of the day. Do the math. Even poor people. The 9% sales tax will only be imposed on NEW GOODS. It is up to the individual where their money gets spent or saved. That makes everyone richer AND stimulates the economy.

    October 11, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  19. Branden

    I really struggle with this plan. On one hand, I really like the simplicity of it. You pay what you pay and the shell games go away. That is a good thing in my view. However, I just can't get over how ridiculously regressive this would be. I think I'd be more comfortable with this plan if it had an exemption on the income tax side for families making less than a certain percentage above the poverty line in each MSA.

    October 11, 2011 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. Branden

    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.

    October 11, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  21. nagrom

    9 percent sales tax. Does anyone realize that this is in addition to every state's sales tax that goes from 0 in NH to 9% in California? You want the middle and lower class people paying upwards of 20% for food, clothing, and any other items they need to purchase to survive? This is a joke! The poor, elderly, and middle class get screwed again.

    October 11, 2011 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. whoa!

    my god... what a ship of fools, these morons!

    October 11, 2011 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Bill in VA

    I think Cain's plan makes for interesting conversation. At least it is something. If something like this ever saw the light of day It certainly would be modified. But I like the idea of "flat" tax with absolutely no deductions, exemptions etc. I also like the idea of everyone paying something – not this 48% who pay nothing now. So maybe 3-5% for up to $25K 10% up to $35k %15% up to $250K 18-20 after that – offor the real liberal – we could go 25% over $1.5 million

    October 11, 2011 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  24. Kenny K

    The republican contestants have not been taken Cain seriously. When they start taking him seriously the way Hillary took Obama seriously, they will start digging into his past records and activities, relationships, etc. If he wins the nomination without all that diggings by Republicans, Democrats will definitely do it for them.

    October 11, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. The Real Tom Paine

    @ Ringer:

    I DO understand the significance of 47% of people not paying taxes: however, its because they are already on SSI or some type of fixed income, and they are already paying sales tax on items already: does it really make sense to tax 9% of a social security recipient, then an additional 9% on them every time they buy something? We have an aging population, and does it make sense to tax them when they will contribute something every time they buy groceries? It also will force state and local governments to increase their sales and property taxes even more ( look at how TX has seen its property taxes shoot up). How does punishing people for buying things to survive stimulate the economy?

    October 11, 2011 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
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