Presidential hopeful Herman Cain said Wednesday the fact he and his 9-9-9 tax-reform proposal came under heavy attack during the Las Vegas Republican debate shows other candidates don’t have serious plans to bolster the moribund economy and all they can do is make the discourse personal.
“Greta, darts and arrows never felt so good,” Cain told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “The fact that six of the candidates that were up there, which meant all of them, were throwing darts at me, it simply highlighted the fact: Number one, they don’t have a plan that anybody can get excited about. And number two, their only comeback is: ‘Let’s go after Herman and try to discredit his plan — let’s try to scare people.’
“But it didn’t work — the American people instinctively know that my plan is much better than what we have today — this is why they’re excited about it,” Cain said. “So I know I’m going to continue to get attacked. And some of the accusations that they made were just flat-out wrong — and we are going to document those.”
Van Susteren asked Cain to get specific about his 9-9-9 plan and why, as Cain has said, you can’t pick and choose elements, but the proposal has to be addressed as a total package.
“We replace the payroll tax, which is 15.3 percent for everybody — so there’s a big pickup right there on that second line,” Cain said. “You only pay sales tax on new goods, not used goods. So it depends upon your purchase behavior.
“Secondly, we believe that the price of goods are going to go down such that, in essence, you're not going to be paying more — that’s the toughest part that people are having trouble with because when businesses subtract purchases in that first 9, we are taking out embedded taxes,” Cain explained. “So that loaf of bread that has the farmer’s taxes in it, the miller, the baker, the truck driver, and the grocery store, those five taxes are embedded and invisible. We’re taking them and replacing it with one visible tax of 9 percent, but you get a little help from your income tax reduction.”
Van Susteren noted that Cain’s 9-9-9 plan is contingent on certain assumptions, one being that “prices are going to go down, and that’s because these different layers of taxes that have been embedded are no longer in existence.” Cain noted that was correct.
“In addition to taking out these embedded taxes, remember that the top corporate rate right now is 35 percent, even though many businesses will have an effective tax rate probably somewhere between 20 and 25 percent,” Cain said. “So they’re going to go from a 25 percent effective tax rate all the way down to 9 percent, which is going to give them a lot of leeway.
“When a company is paying a top rate of 35 percent on its top marginal rate, Greta, they're passing it on to the consumer,” he said. “So this is another way that those embedded taxes will come down because businesses don’t have to collect them from the consumers and then pay Uncle Sam.”
Switching issues, Van Susteren then asked Cain about controversial comments he made about posting an electrified fence between Mexico and the United States to deter illegal immigration.
“When I made the statement about the electric fence, I was at a rally and I did it more in jest.” Cain said. “Here’s my real answer and real solution to this whole problem: We must secure the border for real, and it would involve part of it being a fence, part of it being technology, and part of it being boots on the ground — because there are some aspects of that border we need to have soldiers there so they can protect people.
“The American people are tired of our citizens being threatened and killed and also our border agents being,” he said. “Secondly, we must promote the existing path to citizenship — we just need to clean up the bureaucracy. Thirdly, enforce the laws that are already there, the immigration laws.
“And now, here’s one of the bold, more radical ideas, according to my contenders: Empower the states to do what the federal government is not doing,” Cain continued. “This is how we get our hands around this problem, by making sure that we work on all four problems.”
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