Matt Lewis

Why 9-9-9 is dumb-dumb-dumb

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Matt K. Lewis
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      Matt K. Lewis

      Matt K. Lewis is a senior contributor to The Daily Caller, and a contributing editor for The Week. He is a respected commentator on politics and cultural issues, and has been cited by major publications such as The Washington Post and The New York Times. Matt is from Myersville, MD and currently resides in Alexandria, VA. Follow Matt K. Lewis on Twitter <a>@mattklewis</a>.

Give Herman Cain credit for coming up with a catchy phrase. His 9-9-9 plan garnered no less than 24 mentions during Tuesday night’s GOP debate.

It’s a simple idea, and has helped propel Cain to top-tier status. But as Michele Bachmann said last night, “the devil is in the details.”

So what are the details? Simply stated, Cain’s 9-9-9 plan would replace our current tax system with a 9 percent corporate tax, a 9 percent income tax, and a 9 percent national sales tax.

That last part is problematic.

Cain is correct in arguing that fixing our tax system will require fundamental reform. His mistake is in proposing — as Bachmann said — to “give Congress another pipeline for revenue.”

Right now, Americans do not pay a national sales tax; Cain’s plan would change that. And no matter what Cain says, it would only be a matter of time before taxes would be raised by others to, say, 11-11-11 — or 14-14-14 — or…

Interestingly, almost exactly one year ago, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels was pilloried for proposing we replace the current tax code with a value-added (VAT) tax and a flat income tax.

Daniels plan was so objectionable that Americans for Tax Reform President Grover Norquist told Politico: “Absent some explanation, such as large quantities of crystal meth, this is disqualifying. This is beyond the pale.”

My guess is that 9-9-9 may eventually become a political liability for Cain.