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

Matt K. Lewis Senior Contributor
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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.

Matt K. Lewis