Detroit 9-9-9, starring Herman Cain ( The Michigan View 10.21.11)

Posted by hpayne on October 21, 2011

Forget Detroit 1-8-7. The new show in town is Cain 9-9-9.

Detroit is the poster child for urban dysfunction, so Herman Cain wants to make it his poster child for urban renewal. Standing in front of the shell of Michigan’s Train Depot – a shrewd touch of Hollywood theatrics – The Hermanator announced this morning a new exemption in his zero exemption 9-9-9 Flat Tax proposal. He calls it Opportunity Zones.

Or “Empowerment Zones” as he refers to them on his website. The details are understandably in flux as Cain has scrambled to stem a tide of criticism that his catchy plan is a recipe for taxing lower incomes and hiking taxes for most Americans. Indeed, his quickly scheduled Detroit visit was reportedly moved up a week so that Cain could get back on offense.

A successful black businessman, Cain’s presence before the wrecked train façade in a city of so much black despair made for a dramatic picture as his voice boomed over a mixed crowd of black and white. “The American dream has been hijacked,” he said. “I know that because I have lived the American dream.”

“Opportunity zones, in conjunction with the 9-9-9 plan, will turn the whole country into one giant opportunity zone. Some of the most attractive features will be zero capital gains tax, immediate expensing of business equipment and no payroll taxes are factory-installed in the 9-9-9 plan for the whole country to benefit,” Cain said about his plan targeted at Detroit entrepreneurs.

This is the war flat taxes must always fight – despite its simplification benefits to the larger economy. So many special interests are dependent on the current code’s loopholes that flat taxes suffer a death by a thousand cuts. The MSM – and with a boost from Cain’s GOP debate opponents – quickly pounced on a report by the liberal Tax Policy Center which said low-income families would be hardest hit.

“Households making between $10,000 and $20,000 seeing their taxes increase by nearly 950 percent,” reports class warrior AP. “Households with the highest incomes, however, would get big tax cuts.”

Of course, AP didn’t site other analyses showing the economic benefits of new jobs –

“The bottom line, folks, 9-9-9 means jobs, jobs, jobs,” said Cain – for lower incomes. But such is political reality. It is also why Rick Perry’s more conventional 17 percent flat tax on income (with exemptions for lower incomes) will not be as complicated a sell.


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