LAS VEGAS — Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain found himself and his “9-9-9″ economic plan under direct attack at the beginning of the CNN Western Republican presidential debate in Las Vegas Tuesday evening.
“Anytime you give the Congress a brand new tax, it doesn’t go away,” Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachman said about Cain’s proposed 9 percent national sales tax.
“How long will it take a liberal Congress and a liberal president to run that up to 90%, who knows?” she said.
Cain’s proposal would replace the federal tax code with a 9 percent income tax, a 9 percent national sales tax and a 9 percent corporate tax.
“Read the analysis,” Cain chided his Republican opponents when they questioned whether his plan would work. “It is a jobs plan. It is revenue neutral. It does not raise taxes on those making the least.”
Texas Gov. Rick Perry shot back, “Herman I love you brother but let me tell you something, you don’t need a big analysis to figure this out.”
“They’re not interested in 9-9-9, they’re interested in flatter and fairer,” he said of the American people. (RELATED: CNN provides free Anderson Coopers to press)
Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum attacked Cain’s plan for discouraging family growth since it doesn’t allow for deductions that benefit families. Cain’s plan also came under attack for creating a national sales tax that would go on top of state sales taxes. Cain said such attacks were mixing apples and oranges. Asked by Romney if state taxes would go away under his plan, Cain said, “That’s an apple. We’re replacing a bunch of oranges.”
“And I’ll be getting a bushel basket that includes both apples and oranges in it,” Romney retorted.
After adding his own criticism Cain’s plan, Texas Rep. Ron Paul went back to the question that prompted the attack on Cain’s plan.
“What are we going to replace the income tax with? I say nothing,” he said.
For his part, Cain appealed to the audience to read the plan for themselves.
“None of them understand the plan,” he said. “I invite every family to do their own calculations with that arithmetic.”