Republican Presidential candidate, and former Godfather Pizza CEO, Herman Cain has surged into the spotlight by introducing a radical reform and simplification of our current tax system.
Cain proposes a very simplified 9 percent corporate tax, a 9 percent personal income tax and a 9 percent sales tax. He said he feels that this would promote economic growth and the Washington Post quotes him as saying, "It would free taxpayers from a complicated tax code that has become the 21st century version of slavery."
While some conservatives view this plan as positive, some liberals say that the 9 percent sales tax would actually increase the tax burden on those earning less than $100,000 a year.
At last Tuesday night's Republican Debate in New Hampshire, Cain admitted that his proposed 9 percent sales tax would actually raise the prices of consumer goods like milk, bread and, yes, pizza. But he said that this would be more than counterbalanced by the 15 percent savings on payroll taxes.
Tycoon Warren Buffett has been very vocal about wealthy Americans, including himself, not paying nearly enough of their fair share of taxes under our current tax codes. Interestingly, an accountant with the American Institute of CPAs, commissioned by Yahoo, and using the financial information that Buffett has publicly revealed, has said that under Cain's 9-9-9 plan, Buffett would actually pay less taxes.
How is this possible? Apparently, the bulk of Buffett's income was derived from capital gains and Cain's plan eliminates a capital gains tax. Incredibly, under 9-9-9, Buffett would be paying approximately a 1 percent tax rate.
Cain says that the 9-9-9 plan was formulated by Rich Lowrie, a Wells Fargo wealth manager and Cain's senior economic advisor in conjunction with economists Arthur Laffer and Stephen Moore. The San Francisco Chronicle quoted Lowrie as saying, "this plan is based on 'pro-growth' economics." Lowrie said that Cain came to him and asked him for a bold tax reform plan. When Lowrie asked, "How bold?" Cain replied, "Very bold." And so 9-9-9 was conceived.
Is 9-9-9 really the best tax plan or just a very catchy catchphrase? Certainly it has catapulted Cain into the viable candidate category. Instead of fighting for attention, people are now listening to him. Cain's focus on the tax structure as the primary solution to our economic woes, contrasts with President Obama's primary jobs creation focus.
The Huffington Post noted the strikingly similar - exact same - numbers, 999, were first made popular on SimCity as the default tax rate for the popular virtual game series in 2004. When confronted while campaigning in Tennessee with this, Cain said, "It's a lie." He maintains that his idea is original and not based on a video game.
With a dire need to reverse our economy and get a firm grip on our future, many have felt that a strong, successful businessman might do a better job than a career politician. Does our country need to be run more like a business? Can Cain show us how to make dough without unnecessary toppings while keeping a bigger slice of the pie? Or is this just a game?
Forget pizza with Donald Trump - Herman Cain has had his fill of pizza. Cain had tea with The New York Post's infamous Page 6 gossip columnist, Cindy Adams. Adams spoke about it on NBC this morning. When Adams asked Cain about surviving what was sure to be a most rigorous campaign, he said that nine months ago, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 liver and colon cancer. He went through the most aggressive chemotherapy and is now cancer free. Cain said, "If I can survive that, I can survive anything."
Indeed, surviving a grilling by Miss Adams is quite an accomplishment in and of itself.