A RedState diarist discovers yet another potential problem — from the right — with Cain’s “9-9-9″ plan.
Sometimes in politics, your worst enemy is yourself. Just ask Mitt Romney, who is fighting a front line battle against Past Time Mitt Romney, who was pro-choice, pro gay rights, and who signed into law a certain universal healthcare plan that looks suspiciously like “Obamacare.”
Now it’s Herman Cain’s turn. His front-runner status is now pretty firmly established by multiple polls, and so his super-catchy marketing campaign disguised as an economic plan, the vaunted “9-9-9″ is getting a lot more scrutiny. And one of its biggest critics turns out to be … Herman Cain.
What struck me about the plan was the extremely non-conservative nature of the plan (for the past 30 years conservatives have opposed new taxes or increases in existing taxes), in this case the implementation of a national sales tax, and the naïveté involved in proposing a brand new tax based upon the underlying assumption that no one will ever raise that tax.
Much to my surprise, or not, I found that his supporters were completely in favor of a new federal tax on retail sales and that the idea that said tax would ever increase was roundly discounted as bogus and a strawman. This despite the fact that the current federal income tax had a top rate of 7% when it was first introduced and the VAT debuted in Britain at 8% and now is a healthy 20%
Today I found out that Herman Cain agrees with me. A national retail tax is a really bad idea.
Back on November 21, 2010, Herman Cain authored an opinion piece that appeared in several locations under the title Don’t Be VAT Stupid. You can see it was picked up by outlets as diverse as Whirled Nuts Daily, Daily Caller…. and Red State.
So what did Herman write?
Don’t be VAT stupid
By Herman Cain
November 21, 2010
There’s one message from the 2010 elections that many so-called policy makers, political elites and analysts did not hear. Namely, the American people are not as uninformed and stupid as they think we are.
President Obama’s Debt Commission and the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force have both floated its ideas for reducing our nation’s runaway national debt. As CNNMoney.com reports, both sets of ideas echo each other in broad strokes. And both sets of ideas could confuse and confound the leaves off a tree.
These ideas are a long way from becoming law, but they are generating, as intended, much discussion about the merits of each idea.
The worst idea is a proposed national sales tax, which is a disguised VAT (value added tax) on top of everything we already pay in federal taxes.
Here are three of the biggest reasons the national retail sales tax is the worst idea on the table.
First, we have a spending problem in Washington, D.C. not a revenue problem. The Commission claims their goal is to reduce the deficits by $4 trillion over the next decade. The task force says its plan would save $6 trillion by 2020. It’s sort of like dueling promises that would never happen, because when has a proposed cut in Washington D.C. ever produced the intended savings over 10 years? Never!
Even worse is reason number two: In every country that has established a VAT with the promise of reducing their national debt, the VAT has eventually gone up or expanded on top of the existing tax structure. After discovering many of the tax grenades in the recently passed health care deform bill, which is already driving costs up and access down, it would be real easy for an overzealous bureaucrat to insert the language in the legislation “national retail and wholesale” tax.
For the liberal naysayers who say that would not happen, you lose! Just look at the Social Security system, Medicare and Medicaid. Over the years since their inception, taxes have gone up, benefits have gone down and they are still on a path of insolvency.
… Giving the administration and Congress another tool to tax us and confuse us is like giving an alcoholic a key to the liquor store with no supervision, only to discover that he locks the door after he is safely inside.
A national retail sales tax on top of all the confusing and unfair taxes we have today is insane! It gives the out-of-control bureaucrats and politicians in denial one more tool to lie, deceive, manipulate and destroy this country.
The third reason the national retail sales tax on top of all the taxes we already pay is a bad idea, is that there is already proposed legislation that replaces all of the federal taxes we pay. It replaces all current revenue. It supercharges our national economic growth, and puts the power of taxation back into the hands of the people who spend their money.
It’s called the Fair Tax. It’s as easy to understand as ABC!
Remember, Cain wrote that just this past November — not years and years ago. He wrote it in defense of the so-called “Fair Tax” — a confection of radio host Neal Boortz and other Libertarians who want to get rid of all income taxes period, and replace them with a national sales tax — a similar idea, but one without one of Cain’s “9s” — the 9 percent income tax rate.
Rick Santorum is already jumping on the Cain flip-flop, and look for him to bring it up at tonight’s debate, mostly out of desperation. Why Cain thought a national sales tax was literally stupid a year ago, but brilliant now is something he will have to answer. The Cain tax plan is not popular on the right. It’s going to get less and less so as time goes on. And I think Cain’s rise will eventually be blunted by it.