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BLITZER’S BLOG: With Cain out, “9-9-9” is dead-dead-dead
December 5th, 2011
03:17 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: With Cain out, “9-9-9” is dead-dead-dead

By Wolf Blitzer, CNN

(CNN) - With Herman Cain out of the Republican race for the White House, what happens to his “9-9-9” tax plan? The short answer, of course, is that it’s gone. What isn’t gone, though, is a desire for major tax reform in the United States.

All the candidates have come out with various proposals to reshape the way the government taxes people and corporations. There is an emerging consensus among Republicans and Democrats that the system is way too complicated, inefficient and costly. Fresh ideas are absolutely necessary.

The debate, which will intensify in the coming months, is how best to achieve that reform. One thing that clearly does emerge from Cain’s ill-fated presidential run is that a national sales tax - 9% in Cain’s model - is very unpopular. Indeed, Democrats and Republicans can agree they don’t like the idea.

Democrats think it’s regressive. Why, many of them ask, should rich Americans pay the same flat rate that poor and middle class Americans pay? They hate the idea.

Republicans don’t like a new revenue stream coming into the federal government. They fear that 9% today could easily become 15% tomorrow and 20% down the road.

Cain’s 9-9-9 plan was bitterly attacked by his Republican challengers precisely because of this element. Don’t let the federal government, they said, get a new source of your money. They will never give it up.

I think in the long term that, perhaps, will be the most important lesson from the Cain campaign. It underscored rather clearly that a new national sales tax is something Americans don’t want.

Republicans will no doubt continue to push for what they call a flatter and fairer tax but with no national sales tax component.

There’s one additional point forcefully made by Democrats and Republicans. The Europeans have their version of a national sales tax and look how well things have turned out for them.

Follow Wolf Blitzer on Twitter: @WolfBlitzerCNN

RELATED: Reporter's Notebook: The Rise and Fall of the real Herman Cain

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Filed under: 2012 election • Herman Cain • Taxes • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (175 Responses)
  1. UtdCentPty

    Blitzer doesn't have a clue what he is talking about. His bias is all screwed up. Europe doesn't have a National Sales tax. Europe countries have a National Value-added tax. It's a "markup tax" on all businesses that pass products around before making a "final sale". Second, Government can still manipulate the taxes now, so what is different about Cain's?

    December 6, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  2. Solex

    For the 10,876,309,356th time...

    Flat taxes help the rich and hose the poor.

    1,000,000 at 20% is 200,000 leaving you with 800,000

    30,000 at 20% is 6,000.00 leaving you with 24,000

    Who would you rather be?

    December 6, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Mark in PA

      I would rather be 25 again when I made 30K. Not 45 when I look back and see that I have paid 4 million in taxes the last 20 years while working my butt off and many have paid nothing. Frankly, I was happier then.

      December 6, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • craig

      I am sorry but 20% either way is 20%. being rich or minimum wage. we need a fair tax .

      December 6, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
  3. us1776

    This story is old-old-old.


    December 6, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
  4. Mark in PA

    "Why, many of them ask, should rich Americans pay the same flat rate that poor and middle class Americans pay?" According to the government, I am rich. It's called net worth, not cash in your hand, a huge difference. Why should I pay a higher rate? I have worked hard my whole life to get where I am. I don't want to pay less but I shouldn't be penalized for my success by a higher rate. A flat percentage is the only fair rate of taxation. For the record I payed 37% tax on last years income.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm |
  5. Aaron

    Apparently, the feds will give up income sources. Starting with Reagan, the wealthy went from paying more than their fair share of taxes to paying a significantly lower percentage than the middle class, thanks to targeted deductions and reclassifying of income as capital gains. Want your way with Congress, make contributions to its members....contributions were formerly known as bribes.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
  6. KM

    His plan, 9-9-9 may be gone, but the concept of a flat tax continues to resonate with voters. The average American is sick of being taxed to death and having nothing to show for it. If I have to choose between paying the lion's share of my money to the fed, so our current elected officials can then redistribute it to buy votes, I'd just as soon be allowed to give it to the charity of my choice. That way I can have some assurance that it's actually be used for a charitable purpose.

    December 6, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
  7. 2bits

    Whats dead is tax breaks and loopholes for rich corporations and the super rich!

    Those breaks are dead dead dead!

    December 6, 2011 at 1:56 pm |
  8. Puzzled

    I'm sorry, but this whole argument about "being punished for being successful" is a bunch of bologna. You're not successful if you inherit money, you were just lucky. You're not successful if you drive a company into oblivion and then ride away with a 25 million dollar check just because you were the CEO, leaving shareholders holding the trash. It's all a bunch of garbage. I don't believe in taking from the rich solely for the purpose of taking from the rich, but to raise taxes on poor people so that you can cut the taxes of some rich guy is absolutely disgusting. And no, they don't "invest in growing their business." You invest to grow a business when there is an increase in demand, lower taxes are just more money for you to stash.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:27 pm |
  9. Roy

    The federal tax code is written and ammended by the wealthy 1% to benefit rich people and will never change no matter how much BS congress blows out to the people.

    December 6, 2011 at 12:00 pm |
  10. pita

    We should give at least 60% to 75% of our earnings to the government. In addition, we should allow anyone who has broken our laws and entered our country illegally to become a citizen. Everyone should have as many children as they choose and the government will provide these children with an education, healthcare, housing and food. We should never have to strive for success or work hard. "Give-me Give-me Give-me" Plan – What a perfect solution!

    December 6, 2011 at 11:38 am |
  11. Santa Fean

    999 was designed for the richest 1%. Banks are criminal you need a list? How many lawsuits is YOUR bank involved in right now? Cain was a distraction like so much in the media today. Where does our money go? Who profits from war? Who profits from the bills that are passed? LOOK at the laws passed and you will see who benefits. The war on the American People is growing everyday from TSA to the loss of Habeus Corpus. If you are labeled a "terrorist" in America you disappear.... so it is time to revolt and occupy your own self first!

    December 6, 2011 at 11:16 am |
  12. JS

    Mr. Cain deserves credit for bringing the tax reform issue front and center. His plan had two phases. The final phase being the FairTax. Mr. Blitzer, I respectfully disagree with your assessment that Americans don't want a national sales tax. There are many supporters of the FairTax and over 80 sponsors of the bill in Congress. All of you in the posts above are focusing on Mr. Cain's 9% additive tax but you don't realize that the FairTax proposes to eliminate payroll taxes and corporate income taxes. If this country does not consider the FairTax, the only alternative is what we're left with today, a bureaucratic, expensive mess. I ask you, Mr. Blitzer, what's the alternative?

    December 6, 2011 at 9:53 am |
  13. REGinAz

    Like with most things, it would seem that the Republican / Tea Party is incapable of ever presenting an equitable and fair revamping of the tax code as with their being owned and controlled by "the money" they lack the ability to be impartial and instead concentrate on satisfying those who "pull their strings". That is totally obvious in everything they present and in most everything they do – of course, necessarily with their deceptive rhetoric put aside and their actions totally apparent. To not recognize all of it for what it is, deceptive biased concentration on serving only the few (1%), is to ask to be returned to "more of the same" Bush-Cheney style, and more of the catastrophe for the majority (99%).

    December 6, 2011 at 9:40 am |
  14. Eric

    Blitz, I think these Democrats are right, We SHOULD take from the rich, Its clear they don't know what to do with money.
    I think we should just empty their bank accounts under the guise of protectiong the impoverished and downtrodden, you know those people that just can't do for themselves (as well as the ones who WON'T do for themselves). After all they can just earn more right?? When the government needs to expand social programs AGAIN in the future, just empty the coffers again. I am all for it but lets just call it what it is, extortion, when a group of people make it law to take something from a person or persons without that person actually agreeing to it, its wrong. I'm not wealthy nor am I rich, though anothers property I will never wish. The pride of earning can never be outweighed by the disdain of accepting stolen goods!! Good day all!!

    December 6, 2011 at 9:27 am |
  15. DEEJ

    Almost 50% of the people in the US do not beleve the income tax system needs to be overhauled and made simpler. Oh, wiat. Those are the people who do not pay any income tax. Go figure...

    December 6, 2011 at 2:57 am |
  16. Marry

    The GOP/TP has no interest in tax reform. Their 1% clientele is doing just fine the way it is. It will be the Democrats that have to work on it. Remember the health care reform that was way overdo? The GOP kicked that can down the road forever – the President and the Democrats made it a priority, put lots of ideas in it that the GOP had put forward over the years but as one could see with the GOP massive opposition they were never serious about it. Why? Simple, it tries to take out the “Rip-offs” of the “health-care-industry-insurance”. You know, rain in the people the GOP gets big money from! So if the GOP starts talking “tax-reform” it is time to listen up!
    Better, get rid of these “pledges” in 2012!

    December 6, 2011 at 2:26 am |
  17. ThinkAgain

    @Craig: "The solution to not having to create a tax plan is simple... you should create more jobs... thats the win win sitution here."

    Ah, but Craig, the GOP doesn't want that to happen, because then President Obama would be seen as a success and their #1 goal is to make him a one-term president. If the whole country goes down the tubes and Americans suffer, well, then, that's just too bad.

    December 5, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • Yulian

      Unless you are a C corporation, all of the incmoe eventually gets to your 1040, so the tax bill will be based on your combine incmoe from both W-2 job and the business incmoe. If you are a "sole proprietor" and do not have employees, you do NOT need an EIN. Was this answer helpful?

      May 21, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
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