9-9-9, meet 9-0-9.
Herman Cain came to Detroit on Friday to defend his signature tax plan against the attacks its suffered from all sides since he rose to frontrunner status in the GOP presidential primary. And he did it by publicly dropping one of his 9s for the poorest Americans.
Cain’s vision for a 9% corporate income tax, 9% personal income tax and 9% sales tax helped skyrocket him to the top of the GOP presidential field after Rick Perry stumbled over his immigration past. But as the frontrunner spotlight has shown on Cain and his plan, flaws have begun to emerge.
His fellow Republican candidates jumped all over the plan at Tuesday night’s debate in Las Vegas, attacking Cain for raising taxes on some (as he admits his plan will do) and opening up a new potentially exploitable revenue stream to the federal government by way of that 9% sales tax.
In Detroit Cain said, as he’s said before, that the people who are hating on 9-9-9 just don’t understand it.
“I know that you’ve heard a lot of disinformation about 9-9-9,” Cain said. “Don’t believe it. Look it up for yourself.”
Cain said fears of the government abusing that new sales tax by raising it ever higher ignore one thing: Cain himself.
“One of the reasons they aren’t going to turn 9-9-9 into something else anytime soon,” Cain said, “[is] Number one, I’m going to be president. And I’m not going to sign it.”
As for the raising taxes on poorer Americans, Cain said those at or below the poverty line were never going to live with the 9-9-9 plan. All along, he said, the plan doesn’t include income taxes for poorest Americans.
“If you are at or below the poverty level, you’re plan isn’t 9-9-9,” Cain said. “It’s 9-0-9. Say Amen, y’all.”
Eliminating income taxes for the very poor certainly changes the view of 9-9-9 a bit — but it doesn’t answer the arguments about the plan raising taxes on mostly everyone but the very, very rich. A recent analysis found the plan means most Americans get a tax hike — not just poor Americans — while the very wealthy (well, not very wealthy if you’re talking to Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer) get a big tax cut.
Still, 9-9-9 is now down a nine. Who knows what other changes are in store for Cain’s signature program now that he’s leading the polls.