The great news about a Herman Cain presidency is not just that we'd have a president who hates ever thinking about foreign policy. We'd also get his 9-9-9 tax plan, a cartoonishly regressive transfer of the tax burden to the lower and middle classes! Okay, even our Congress isn't dumb enough to pass this. But. This is what Herman Cain's running on, so why not check out some fancy reviews, hmm?
Josh Barro, Manhattan Institute fellow:
That amounts to a total 9-9-9 tax bill for the [sample middle class] family of $11,000: $4,500 in income tax and $6,500 in consumption taxes. That's an increase of $2,660 over today's tax code, or a relative increase of 32 percent.
Edward Kleinbard, USC Law School:
The 9-9-9 Plan functions as an effective 27 percent payroll tax on wage income. By imposing an effective 27 percent flat tax on wage income, the 9-9-9 Plan would materially raise the tax burden on many low- and middle-income taxpayers, who today face little or no tax under the income tax, and a 15.3 percent effective payroll tax burden.
Daniel Shaviro, NYU Law School:
In sum, one could think of 9-9-9 as having 3 tax rate brackets. Poor people without a job are taxed at 18 percent, including on the necessities that they can barely afford. The employed poor and middle class people, along with the non-self-employed rich, pay tax at 27 percent. But the wealthy self-employed get their tax rate back down to 18 percent again.
Really all this does is make the economists at SimCity look bad.
[Image via AP]