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SENTRY JOURNAL » Uncategorized » 9-9-9: The Beauty is in the Details

9-9-9: The Beauty is in the Details

Years ago I had a babysitter who, by her own admission, was pretty fried due to more than 20 years of heavy drug use.  Even still, she was quite a conspiracy theorist and had strange religious beliefs.  One of those strange beliefs that she taught me was that Ronald Reagan was the anti-Christ as evidenced by his names (Ronald Wilson Reagan) all having 6 numbers in them.  A few weeks ago Michelle Bachman decided that she would align herself with the too often dazed and confused by implying that the 9-9-9 plan was bad because if you flip it over it would be 6-6-6.  I wasn’t impressed with her rebuttal to a serious tax plan.  I wonder if they used that kind of rhetoric when she was a tax lawyer (we would have a lot less of those if we implemented the 9-9-9 plan). 

I’ve listened to a lot of people attack the Cain plan (which is what happens when you become the frontrunner) and I have been underwhelmed with their lack of understanding of the plan.  Is the plan perfect?  Of course not, it’s a tax plan.  Allow me to speak to some of the specifics in this plan that I appreciate.

First, I am not thrilled with the idea of creating a national sales tax, but if it means getting rid of the current tax code – I will take the lesser of the two evils.  I know that Bachman and others have attacked the idea that creating another avenue of taxation for government is dangerous.  The idea behind this attack is that it will just add another way for government to tax us.  This argument is either ignorant or disingenuous.  The 9-9-9 plan does create a new avenue of taxation, but it closes countless others that are already in place and fuel the fire that destroys our economic progress. 

Every year hundreds of billions of dollars are wasted in order for individuals, government and businesses to comply or enforce the current tax code.  How many Bachmans would your business have to hire in order to figure out your tax burden for any given fiscal year under the 9-9-9 plan?  Maybe Herman Cain won’t get the tax lawyer vote, but he may pick up a few business votes…Unless those businesses are voting based on their desire to be “in” with the future President for the purpose of capitalizing on crony capitalism.  This all but destroys this dreadful aspect of our federal government.  GE couldn’t go through the year capitalizing on every possible loop hole that congress or the current administration is willing to give them.  They would play their low flat rate like everyone else.

That is the beauty of this plan, with all due respect to Mr. Romney, it is simple.  It takes the guessing game out of entrepreneurship and removes government (in part) from our economic and social systems.
Have 20 kids and make a few thousand every year in your tax return?  Well, this plan doesn’t act like a middle man between the haves and the have nots.  I know that Mr. Santorum, a good man, is all about big families – as am I; but I challenge him to find a constitutional basis for his argument against Cain’s 9-9-9 plan.  Where does our federal government get the authority to encourage family growth by essentially paying people to have children with the earnings of someone else?  That’s not conservatism, that is social engineering.

Finally, one of the best things about Cain’s plan is its gimmicky name.  No, not because I like the way it sounds like a hot weekend pizza deal, but because everyone (to include the apolitical) will know EXACTLY what the tax rate is.  This transparency is something that Americans want more of in Washington, but this also rebuts the idea that once instituted that Congress could EASILY raise it to a 10-10-10 plan.  Well, while they could, that wouldn’t fly easily.  How many different tax hikes have been implemented in the last year? Four years?  Ten years?  The answer is…You don’t know.  In fact, I don’t know if anyone knows.  We do know that there have been more than 14,000 changes to the tax code since 1986.  If Congress raised taxes tomorrow in some obscure area, few Americans would know or even blink at hearing it.  Raise the 9-9-9 plan, and everyone will know instantly.  That is exactly why so many politicians are against it; it takes away their means to move money and reward their buddies.

Sure, Newt was right in regards to the fact that it is a little more complicated than Cain has led on.  Sure, he has had to make some adjustments (to include the 9-0-9 plan).  Still, it would be quite a stretch to attack this plan for its complications especially compared to the status quo.  There are a lot of economists that have written it off as a non-serious plan, but I could walk outside and find a dozen economists that think we should continue to pass trillion dollar stimulus packages.  I know this, Paul Ryan, Arthur Laffer (Reagan’s economic advisor), and Steve Forbes have all given Cain’s plan a thumbs up.

No more Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes, no more death tax, no more federal nickel and dime passes to be found on your phone, gas, internet, or electric bills.  We all love to complain about taxes, but are we willing to get behind a bold plan to make some REAL change or do we just want to make a few more changes to that giant 10 million word document?  You tell me.

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RightHandMan

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Comments
  • Steve Dennis October 24, 2011 at 5:07 AM

    I have to admit that I am one of those who became leary of Cain when he introduced the 9-9-9 plan because of the sales tax, but you did a great job at explaining the upside to it. I do like the idea of transparency as a hindrance to raising taxes.

    • RightHandMan
      RightHandMan October 24, 2011 at 6:21 PM

      There is more that I think could be said about theory behind the 9-9-9 plan…such as a drop in the price of goods and products. As Cain has said (ineloquently IMO), there is a theory that if you drop both the payroll tax and the corporate tax by a substantial margin (which would be done in the Cain plan), then you offer more wiggle room for competitive price drops than the 9% sales tax would add. Second, even if a business doesn’t lower the price of their good after the tax drops, you would still have a larger business profit which means more money put directly into the economy (more money for that business to hire, expand, invest, etc.). Either way, it’s a good thing. That is why this plan is a “jobs plan”, as he says and not just a tax plan.

  • silverfiddle October 24, 2011 at 8:34 AM

    Every plan will have pros and cons. There are no magic bullets. That is the trick that critics play: Point out the negatives and shout “AHA!”

    Smart people do not fall for such parlor tricks and instead evaluate each proposal on its relative merits.

    The plan is not perfect, but no plan is. As you say, the big upside is its simplicity. Individuals and businesses spend hundreds of billions per year on tax accounting and tax avoidance. A straighforward tax code would remove a drag on our economy and increase revenues.
    silverfiddle recently posted..Mr Obama, You’re No Reagan!My Profile

  • theCL October 24, 2011 at 1:49 PM

    Never forget the true nature of the state when analyzing politics.

    First They Came for the Smokers… And I said Nothing Because I Was Not a Smoker…

    Here’s the thing. I’ll grant Congress the power to collect a consumption tax on the day after the day hell freezes over. Because in the immortal words of Billy Joel, “It’s a matter of trust.”

    HOW to tax us isn’t the conversation we should be having. It’s a distraction. The problems that need to be addressed, and pronto, is a) spending; b) spending; and c) spending. Taxes need to be drastically slashed, but until the ludicrous spending is cut, cut, and cut, this will never happen. In other words, if they’re going to unjustly confiscate say $4 trillion per year from US taxpayers, the problem isn’t how they confiscate it, but that they confiscate it at all!

    Once Congress justifies their spending levels, we can talk about other ways for them to tax us. (This is a good point of negotiation for “We the People,” ’cause we all know hell will freeze over long before they could ever justify the trillions they spend. 😯 )

    Whatever one thinks of her hyperbole, Bachmann’s critique of 999 is spot on. And if you want to improve the tax code, slash spending!
    theCL recently posted..theCL Report (October 24, 2011)My Profile

    • Harry October 24, 2011 at 2:47 PM

      That is spot on. Like Carville would say – it’s the spending, Stupid. Still, the tax system is a behemoth that needs to be slain. I don’t know why we can’t do both. The candidates have made a miscalculation with focusing on the tax side vs the spending side…it is the spending side that was the genesis of the Tea Party and the current conservative uprising…

    • Jim at Conservatives on Fire October 24, 2011 at 4:05 PM

      Of course spending has to be cut. But if that is all we do, sit back and watch Americans show the Greeks what rioting really looks like. We must reform taxes and regulations in order to release the the economic growth machine first, in order, to gain the public’s confidence and trust. Then we can begin slashing the expenditures and the structure of government
      Jim at Conservatives on Fire recently posted..Government Subterfuge?My Profile

      • Harry October 24, 2011 at 4:12 PM

        Yeah, there really isn’t anything to debate here. We need lower taxes and smaller gubment. Period. Kind of a chicken/egg thing, eh?
        Harry recently posted..Communists Endorse Occupy Wall StreetMy Profile

    • RightHandMan
      RightHandMan October 24, 2011 at 6:17 PM

      I agree with the sentiment, but not necessarily the process. Spending fixes is supremely more difficult to fix in the macro and infinitely easier to fix in the micro. In other words, we can win little battles that get us in the right direction in spending (overturn Obamacare, cut foreign aid, cut Medicare/Medicaid, cut big programs and department completely), but fixing the tax code isn’t something that should be done on a micro scale. That is very Bushish (I’ll coin that now). You can’t just fix the 10 million word tax code one sentence at a time because it is inherently bad. We must completely overturn the thing.

      This is why Cain’s plan is a 2 step plan. First, the 999 plan, and second, a flat tax. The idea is that with the 999 plan is to take the first reformational steps in tax, spending, and social reform. With the economy the way it is, people are becoming more and more reliant on government to “save the day” (or run their lives) as evidenced by the # of people on welfare, the # of people on government healthcare, and the thousands living in the streets clamoring for government to undercut the rich and give to the poor (they miss the point of Robin Hood completely). If we simply cut spending without creating a market friendly environment first, we will only create chaos and a socialist uprising. I agree with the principle, but disagree with the tactic.

      Wean people off of the government teat and once they are standing on their own we can make drastic federal cuts and transform our government system.

      • theCL October 25, 2011 at 10:32 AM

        Well, as Paul has shown, you can slash $1 trillion in spending without cutting folks off the government teat cold turkey. That’s $1 trillion that individuals and businesses could put to productive use too (instead of wasted on bureaucratic nonsense), thereby improving the economy.

        $1 trillion barely addresses what Obama has done, so more cuts would have to come down the road. But it sets us on the right path with the added bonus of defunding and dismantling chunks of the Leviathan (setting the progressive freight train back a few decades).

        How best to fix the tax code? Start by repealing the 16th Amendment.

        One may argue these are too bold, or “extreme” or whatever, but where is the best place to start a negotiation? With what you want (or more than you want), or where you are willing to settle? Because if we start at the point of compromise, aren’t we forced to give in, and therefore ultimately lose?
        theCL recently posted..theCL Report (October 24, 2011)My Profile

        • RightHandMan
          RightHandMan October 25, 2011 at 3:50 PM

          I don’t think I’m compromising. I want to do a lot (if not all) of what Paul wants to do. Cut the fed all over the place. I would love to just take a chainsaw in blindfolded and tear the thing up. In fact, I don’t think you’ll find many conservatives out there who wouldn’t.

  • Steve Dennis October 25, 2011 at 5:38 AM

    More great points! Thanks.
    Steve Dennis recently posted..New Libyan government to implement Sharia law, is this part of Barack Obama’s plan?My Profile

  • MLaChance October 25, 2011 at 7:25 AM

    If we as voters aren’t willing to support those brave enough to fight for bold changes, we certainly can’t complain when we don’t get any. In fact, we WON’T get any. When Cain was asked how he will garner support for this plan with no connections in Congress or legislative ties to powerful interests, he answered that the American people will demand it. That’s what it comes down to, folks. If we don’t demand it, ANY big changes, we won’t get it. It benefits so many special interests, tax attorneys amongst them, to keep things the way they are now. If you don’t like Cain, fine; but please learn more about this plan and demand that whomever you do support will stand-up for big changes to our tax structure, social security, public education system, etc. If our elected reps won’t stand up for it and WE don’t demand it, it won’t happen.
    MLaChance recently posted..The COUNTER-Revolution & The MediaMy Profile

  • Liberty October 25, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    Cain’s 999 plan adds a 9% payroll tax since the business cannot deduct employee wages from their income. Also, could you imagine living on Social Security or being lower income and paying a 9% sales tax on your medicine and food? These people can barely get by as it is.

  • Tom Jestus October 25, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    This plan is anything but simple. Sure it may be simpler but there are too may questions unanswered. First it was a 3 phase plan with 999 being the second phase. That was too confusing so now it’s a 2 phase plan with 999 being phase one. What happened to the original phase one? It was pushed as 999 until people realized it raised taxes on over 50% of taxpayers so he added the 909 version unless you live in an Empowerment Zone (oh wait those are now called Opportunity Zones) then its a 333 plan. Then there are the pre-bates for necessities. Who decides what necessities are and how much each person gets? Then there is the question of state/local sales tax and income taxes. Do we still pay those or does the federal government tell the states what rate they can tax at? How will Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid be funded with no payroll tax? We would still need the IRS to manage all of this (especially all those pre-bates and zones). Will the different zones end up picking the winners and losers in business? Phase 2 (used to be 3) is a move to the Fair Tax at a rate of 20-30% national sales tax on top of state and local sales taxes. Then there’s the idea that businesses will all lower prices out of the goodness of there hearts because that’s just human nature. Apparently greed will be eliminated with this plan. It never addresses spending, so how will it adjust for inflation and cost of living? Will the rate go up to cover additional government spending or will it go down to make up for cost of living increases. Questions. Questions. Questions.

    The current system needs to go, but lets not jump to replace it with another system. Let’s get rid of the 16th Amendment and replace the current system with nothing. Cut spending so the government can operate on just its original constitutional revenue sources. The idea that fixing the tax problem in this country by creating a new tax is like cutting a board twice because ti was too short after the first cut.

  • Details Of The Spirit America Checkbook October 26, 2011 at 4:27 AM

    […] 9-9-9: The Beauty is in the Details | SENTRY JOURNAL 9-9-9: The Beauty is in the Details October 24th, 2011 | 1 Comment. Years ago I had a babysitter who, The idea behind this attack is that it will just add another way for government to tax us This argument is either ignorant or disingenuous. […]