Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan is a joke
I remember the smartest thing my grandfather told me. He said, “Derek, there are two things you can’t avoid in this life: eating green beans and paying your taxes, so you might as well get over it.” Powerful, I know. Though his claim wasn’t completely accurate — I can’t even remember the last green bean which entered my mouth — he had a point. Everyone has to pay taxes, and sometimes rich people even pay them too. This actually poses a big problem in our country. The current distribution of federal tax obligations is horribly burdened on working class Americans. Thankfully for us all, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has proposed a 9-9-9 tax plan — which would effectively make the current system even more unbalanced.
The 9-9-9 in Cain’s plan refers to a nine percent national sales tax, nine percent income tax and nine percent business tax. This system would replace the current tax code, although the sales tax would be implemented on top of state sales tax. Cain’s plan reduces the possible exemptions currently in place on income taxes to charitable donations and “empowerment” zones, which benefits inner-city employees. The sales tax would apply to new goods only, and the business tax tightens loopholes and additionally lowers exemptions — making tax evasion for notoriously corrupt small-business owners less possible.
Cain’s plan ignores a concept I like to call proportion. A flat income tax rate of nine percent when applied to a $40,000 income and a $2 million income does not yield proportionally equivalent results. Considering about half of Americans currently pay no income tax, this is a substantial burden on lower income families who will have to account for a substantial expense increase.
It’s true that there are some benefits to Cain’s plan. Millionaires and single, middle income tax filers would end up paying less, but according to politifact.com, 83.8 percent of people will pay more in taxes under the 9-9-9 plan. That 84 percentile excludes one group: individuals with incomes higher than $1 million. The tax break these people would enjoy under Cain’s plan? $487,300.
Let me make one thing obvious — I don’t oppose paying more in taxes. As Grandpa pointed out to me, everyone has to do it. What I do oppose is placing that burden on the lower class and passing it off as simplified tax reform. Republicans love lowering taxes more than Democrats love sex scandals, but Cain’s plan doesn’t do that — it disproportionally raises them for the people with the least amount of room for “belt-tightening.”
Herman Cain, and politicians in general, need to stop trying to trick us into believing their political hocus-pocus. Even Ronald Reagan — a Republican demi-god — knew people couldn’t keep cutting taxes until the well ran dry. Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan is a joke that isn’t funny. It is the same offensively sophomoric campaign tactic which has come to define the political atmosphere, and should be treated as such. We don’t need catchphrases, we need solutions.