Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 Slogan May Need a Makeover

Pressed on the inequities of his proposed tax policy, the Republican presidential hopeful declares, “It's 9-0-9. Say amen, y'all."

Posted: 10/22/2011 11:44 AM EDT
Herman Cain on 2012 campaign trail.

Herman Cain has just run smack into one of the realities of public life: There’s a big difference between a catchy slogan and a just tax policy.

The Republican frontrunner’s 9-9-9 proposal—calling for a flat 9 percent corporate income tax, 9 percent personal income tax and 9 percent sales tax—just turned into a donut with a hole in the middle. A 9-0-9 plan. For some Americans, that is.

It turns out that economic reality—and simple fairness—is more complicated than selling pizza.

After facing criticism from fellow GOP hopefuls at their latest debate earlier in the week, Cain conceded during a campaign stop in Detroit on Friday that his 9-9-9 proposal would actually raise taxes for poor people. Though he insisted the basic 9-9-9 plan was sound, there would be an exception.

“If you are at or below the poverty level, your plan isn’t 9-9-9,” Cain said. “It’s 9-0-9. Say Amen, y’all.”

An analysis of Cain’s proposal released on Tuesday by the Washington, D.C.-based Tax Policy Center found that under the 9-9-9 plan, 84 percent of U.S. households would pay more taxes.

By contrast, the report said, 95 percent of those with more than $1 million in income would receive substantial tax cuts.

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