As Herman Cain surges ahead in the Republican race for the GOP nomination and the White House, more and more people are hearing about, scrutinizing his plan to reform the American tax code should he take office. He calls it 9-9-9, 9% corporate tax, 9% income tax on every person, 9% sales tax nationwide. Speculation too abounds as to what it means some speculating it is just one increased step toward abolishing Medicare and social security according to hints in Cain’s own campaign literature, others raise questions about its ability to generate the kind of revenue needed to operate the national government on the most fundamental level, analysts concerned about the impact felt by poor, vulnerable Americans, what that high a sales tax would do in some areas. Still others are optimistic about the new idea being put forth in a place known for rehashing the same old concepts, spouting the same old rhetoric; many liking Cain for his blunt, no nonsense talk, his feel of being the anti-politician, a person who balances their own checkbook. However could his form of the unconventional take our nation backwards not forward, is he more dangerous than progressive and are there other reasons to shy away for the phase president Cain? Sadly for all those hoping Herman Cain, 9-9-9 was the new idea many had longed for, it looks as if presidential hopeful Michelle Bochman was right; the devil is in the details.
If there is anything whatsoever to the notion Herman Cain wants to do away with social security, then there is a huge negative against him, not only as more baby boomers retire depending upon it, but so often forgotten, the children, developmentally and physically disabled receiving off shoots of social security like SSI (supplemental security income). Stipends that allowed one mother to work part time while providing special care to her autistic son, monies that allow the developmentally delayed to do everything from live independently to contributing to their household, making simple choices about their lives and how they live them. Whatever the case may be, they are vital to their local economy buying food, toiletries and basic necessities, with the money provided them to live, also avoiding institutions creating less of a burden on already overwhelmed states. Added to that it gives the mentally ill a way to live outside health facilities, still get the therapy and medication they need to be functional and productive as opposed to forcing them to work, particularly in the absence of part time jobs, when full time jobs are too stressful. Unless this society has become so jaded that the only time we care about such persons is while their being arrested for disturbing the peace, vagrancy, public urination; unless the only time we care about them is when the work we forced them to get aggravates their mental illness, causes them to destabilize and it all ends in a shot up shopping mall, hair salon, outdoor public venue. Yet judging by the comments present on Mr. Cain’s own website, removing social security along with any sort of aid seems to be exactly what he wants.
“For the generations or [sic] workers who have paid into Social Security and Medicare, the federal government’s inevitable failure to pay them as they retire is undeniably stealing. These are generations who have worked and sacrificed to leave this country a better place for their children and grand children [sic] as they retire. The current behavior of an out of control federal government does little to ease their minds.
The federal government has imposed expensive and often counter-productive social and welfare programs on the states and the people. It is time to admit the mistakes, and get the federal government out of the way. This will allow states, cities, churches, charities and businesses to offer a helping hand instead of a handout where they live. People closest to the problems are the best ones to solve the problems effectively.
We can fulfill our responsibility to our golden age citizens and future retirees by empowering them instead of restricting them.”
Further he seems to imply states should take the place of such programs, states who are so strapped for cash one tried to vote out providing toilet paper in their government building, wanting government workers to bring their own. Topeka Kansas made headlines last week when the city voted not to prosecute misdemeanor domestic violence cases after a heated debate between them and the district attorney over funds to do so; luckily for the women there, upon hearing of the city’s decision, he decided to resume trying said cases. And in Michigan stop lights were literally repossessed after failure of one area to meet its electric bill. These are extreme and somewhat humorous cases on the surface but there are other much more serious instances, the cuts to fire and police forces for example, one school district closing numerous schools, sharing buildings to meet budget constraints. Along comes Herman Cain who thinks states can replace social security at least, if not Medicare and Medicaid as well, in places where food bank shelves are bare, where pastors have people saying if you don’t help me I don’t eat tonight, where they can help some but not everyone; he thinks cities, states and charities can do more, do what the government has done for nearly a century, when mobile care clinics are cropping up nationwide providing everything from vision and dental care to mammograms for people who are working but do not have health insurance or can’t afford the premiums offered by their employer. Maybe he should have checked with the sates before he said that, because most would agree he’d get a resounding S.O.S accompanied by the words please god don’t do that or similar sentiment. This makes candidate Cain’s attitude toward “welfare” all the more insulting to the poor and destitute. People who are looking for work, people who have solid education, training, degrees, experience and until the great recession had meaningful careers and jobs; people who didn’t, as one Fox News commentator put it in a pun about the Wall Street pretesting college kids, major in Peruvian bongo drums then complain about not finding a job. As if that was ever what anyone at the aforementioned demonstrations was upset about at all.
Regarding the Cain tax plan, 9-9-9 has serious problems; essentially scrapping the current tax code it does create a hardship for the middle class and the poor removing common deductions like the personal deduction, head of household, mortgage and dividend deductions. While Cain contends it is better than the 15 percent currently paid by the tax payer, many economists point out that people are not paying that they are paying about half that and employers are covering the other half. Not to mention there are people who pay in no taxes at all to the IRS either because they are on the stipends detailed earlier in the piece, making too little to have to even file a return, or are the working poor receiving refunds from the IRS every tax season. In practical terms according to calculations done by ABC news, the average family of 4 would end up paying a little over 2,000 more in taxes; here’s how, they would not have to pay about 4,000 in social security taxes but they also lose the child tax credit equaling about the same amount; coupled with that is the tax, dubbed by critics “the Cain tax,” that 9% sales tax on all new goods. Evidently used goods would somehow be exempt, virtually stopping a consumer based economy as there will be no new houses, cars, clothing, household items because no one will want to pay that 9% tax. Speaking of sales tax, the 9% would only be the national/federal sales tax, meaning people would still be subject to state and other local taxes; bringing the average total to around 20%, not 9, putting an absolute stranglehold on poor and struggling Americans. One more time the rich are the winners in this plan, amassing more wealth as their taxes are reduced to a lowly 9% vs. the 18-35 they usually pay; capital gains likewise receiving no taxes as opposed to the 15% imposed now. The latter of which is a reduction done in both the Clinton and Bush years meant to stimulate the economy, that has only lined the pockets of the already uber wealthy. Here is exactly what the Wall Street protestors are talking about, the same Wall Street protestors Cain tried to give a responsibility lecture to.
Again going back to a pesky little headache of details; it’s also what’s not mentioned in the 9-9-9 plan. Since there are no exemptions and it removes the current tax code experts looking at it are left to assume citizens will be taxed for services as well; $100,000 hospital bill would now incur a $9,000 tax or so outsiders are lead to believe, the same with legal and other services cities don’t even think to tax at present. No one, not the individual nor the employer, is paying for social security, and while we’re on the subject, Cain has asserted that people currently living off pensions and social security would not be subject to the income tax because they have already paid the taxes on those monies and are not taxed again. But he also said 9% income tax on every person, he also implies he wants to do away with said security, so what do 401K’s, inevitably tied to the stock market, either go away too, or become the only thing people have to rely on, as if they are reliable to begin with seeing what happened to so many of them in 2008. Is an IRA alone supposed to sustain a person throughout their golden years, allow them to live, pay for their medications, medical procedures until the end of life? Nice fantasy. Yet fantasy is where Herman Cain seems to live because 9-9-9 comes nowhere close to bringing in the monies needed to operate the most stripped down federal government even when compiled with the 9% sales tax. He also seems to think that the tax being so low it gives people, businesses almost no reason to evade said tax; tell that to people currently paying nothing and barely getting buy, people who would be forced to choose between their rent and the tax, their child’s shoes and the tax, see who’s willing to evade then. Along those same lines he believes employers would be inclined to pass on the $4,000 not paid out by them in social security taxes down to the employees instead of lining their own pockets with it. Granted that could be true for small businesses, but over and over corporations prove they will do anything to save a buck, make a buck and when that doesn’t satisfy their greed, take a buck. Coming back around for the third time to the Wall Street protestors, what they want, i.e. corporations to be made to do the right thing, pay their fair share and in cases like Cain describes return those type of savings to employees, rather than getting away with unchecked greed. All of the above having been said he is still for the deregulation of business in favor of growth, jobs and a thriving economy, as if they all forget it was big banks, lack of regulations that took those things from us to begin with.
In case you didn’t understand all the tax jargon for something that was supposed to be so simple, there are more reasons than a wonky tax plan likely never to get past any congress in the next decade to say no, no, no to Cain philosophy and ideology not just a Cain economy. He is lock step with conservatives, republicans and tea partiers alike on many issues aggressively wanting to repeal “Obamacare” claiming most Americans agree; actually, a majority of Americans like the idea people can no longer be denied coverage due to preexisting conditions or that their kids can stay on a parents insurance until age 26, that insurance can’t drop you because you get sick. Anyone looking at the Obama healthcare plan could argue it doesn’t go far enough, and many do, seeing what giant companies like Wal-Mart are doing to their health benefits scaling them back, hiking premiums well beyond the anticipated rise in costs next year, nothing compared to what insurance companies have already done in doubling, tripling coverage cost and representatives saying they have no power to stop them advising people to write their congressmen, fight to change the law. Cain supports getting government out of education and letting states decide what and how to teach children at a time when everyone is begging for national standards putting students on an equal playing field as they go to college, clearly telling employers about their applicants education, as opposed to what you have now, differences in grading scales, different material covered in different areas at different levels. Not just cultural and local heritage, history, interesting facts but fundamental differences in the complexity of information children are taught, something that has to change if America is to compete globally. Perhaps you begin to understand Cain’s limited comprehension of the global economy when delving into his foreign policy ideas, his repeated mispronunciation of Uzbekistan is just a start; he appears to say he would capitulate to terrorists by stating he could see himself freeing all the detainees in Gitmo for one American on par with what the Israeli president did in his own country days ago causing the video to go viral and most Americans to have their jaws in the floor; Cain has now backpedaled waffling on whether he said it at all saying he wouldn’t do that, saying maybe he didn’t understand the question. On a Fox News appearance he seemed utterly in the dark about the Israeli right of return, how it effected the goings on in that part of the world.
And of course no candidate is gaff proof, but Herman Cain’s gaffs go to something deeper, more disturbing about both the selection of GOP candidates this time around and GOP supporters; in speaking on immigration Cain went into detail about the highly controversial fences protecting our countries borders saying in part they should be 20 feet high with barbed wire, continuing with more excitement and exuberance in his voice, that they should be electrified exhibiting a sign on the other side saying “it could kill you.” By now we know this is by no means the first time candidates and the audience supporters have cheered the idea of death, applauding the number of people executed in Texas, were enthusiastic about Ron Paul’s “let them die” health insurance policy for the uninsured, but being willing to potentially kill poor, destitute people who only want a better life and want it in America takes the cake. Vying for the title of leader of the free world and suggesting we want to barbecue individuals looking for opportunities here any way they can get them is the definition of inhumane, an insult to a nation with a continued history of taking in immigrants, offering asylum to those oppressed persecuted in other countries. To say nothing of how both hypocritical and detrimental it is to us turning away such people; look at Alabama where the toughest immigration law has been passed to date, not only is it causing Latino persons to exit the state in droves, but tomato farmers are losing money as their crop rots on the vine for lack of workers. One saying he can’t get U.S. workers i.e. legal workers who can stand the heat, the hours and intensity of the work, so what is that farmer supposed to do, stop growing food, or hire people who can do the work? It’s the dirty little reality no one wants to admit and political suicide that sends the Latino vote, legal, registered voters running for the exits; during the latest debate Mitt Romney had to remind audience members, viewers he was for legal immigration, as everyone seemed to be anti-immigrant no matter how they got here.
It’s not just that he can’t pronounce Uzbekistan, it’s not just that candidate Cain thinks his inability to pronounce it is immaterial to his campaign; it’s that he doesn’t seem to know that it could be very important in his presidency and makes people nervous about his foreign policy readiness. Not at all helped by his repeated claim that if he were to win the White House he would get information from the experts, surround himself with advisers, which right or wrong, good or bad, is too reminiscent of former president George W. Bush, a candidate type the people no longer want. Same thing with the right of return, how can you be running for the highest office in the free world and not understand something so crucial to today’s global politics, to a U.S. ally? His repeated statements he would need all the facts before making a decision may have garnered him points in the beginning, however now it just looks like he is either avoiding taking a stand or hasn’t thought through the issues to know where he stands, have some inkling what he might do as leader of the free world. Neither is it a matter of his ideas being new, never tried before, are against the status quo or big spenders Washington is famous for; it’s that his ideas have little hope of working to better America. Yes there is a chance they could bring down the debt by no longer offering social security, Medicare, Medicaid or any aid to the needy, by cutting off stipends to the disabled, the developmentally delayed, the mentally ill, but what kind of country does that leave us with, a country where mothers abort children with possible problems, leaving them in institutions and when those too are closed for budget reasons, the least among is are flung in the street to die? 9-9-9 is a failure before it even begins possessing no hope of passing a congress this side of 20 years, not generating the tax dollars necessary and only liked by a few for its simplicity. Here too the American people need to be chastised for not demanding better quality candidates; all of the flavors of the week/month as they have been called while the front runners in the GOP race keep changing, have every right to appear on a ballot, seeing as that’s how you get fair elections. But that these people have any real hope, any public support based not on them being someone other than the incumbent, a member of the incumbents party, rather based on the things coming out of their mouths, the things they want to do to our great nation in a desperate attempt to bring it back to glory, things feared to only make conditions worse, sends a very unflattering message about the American people.
We have gotten so angry, frustrated, hopeless we will let people tell us being poor is our own fault and they still have a chance at winning the highest office, even when employers want everything and the kitchen sink to hire for the most basic jobs, when the founder of Starbucks is selling bracelets to raise money for small businesses because banks won’t lend, Cain who blasts poor people when job training is the first thing to go in city and state budgets, when older people and those with disabilities have less and less options, chances for being employed based on complexity of jobs, types of job duties and plain old discrimination. Yet everyone who needs safety nets, stipends has been conditioned by cradle to grave welfare, expects entitlements; never once has a candidate ever spoken about reforming said things without taking it away from people who need it. Say, reforming the business climate to hire older workers, make room for individuals with disabilities, scale down overblown job descriptions so more people can apply, more people can work and need less “entitlement.” Cain isn’t sounding off about the republican rejection of Obama’s jobs bill meant to put police officers, fire fighters and teachers back to work, meant to rebuild roads, refurbish school buildings all things republicans have supported as individual concepts, even broken into pieces the jobs initiatives aren’t passing; instead he is handing out responsibility lectures, hocking a book, justifiably being called an unserious candidate in this to better his motivational speaking career. Though how he does well at motivational speaking blaming people for circumstances beyond their control, berating them for not being simultaneous geniuses and jacks of all trades no one really knows. You know he was right when he said he was like Haagen-Dazs black walnut; he meant he was enduring, long lasting. However he is like it alright just not in the way he thinks; he is like that flavor of ice cream, in terms of being old, out of touch, disconnected to what is going on. By the way Haagen-Dazs discontinued the flavor black walnut at least 2 years ago. See the resemblance?