In December, former Republican primary presidential candidate Herman Cain ended his run for office amid multiple allegations of sexual harassment and adultery. Since then, he launched another type of campaign the following month.
Cain has been on a public policy PR blitz, touring the country on a bus emblazoned with his face and the catch phrase “Cain’s Solutions Revolution.” His primary solution, the now infamous 9-9-9 tax plan, has been widely panned by both Republicans and Democrats alike. Still, Cain pushes on, touting the economic recovery it will supposedly unleash. In this cash for gold economy, where unemployment remains stubbornly high, Cain and his flat-tax brethren Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich support both a return to the gold standard and the lessening the tax burden for ‘job creators,’ in the hopes that all that spare cash will find its way into new business ventures… trickle-down economics for a new generation.
Flat-tax advocates rejoice at the prospect of 9-9-9, but Washington D.C. tax maven and founder of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist sees danger. “I’m very concerned about three different taxes,” —every one of them can grow.” The author of the notorious no-new-taxes pledge signed by many prominent Republicans, including Cain, Norquist is the man largely responsible for last summer’s deficit gridlock in Washington. In an August Fox News debate with Bret Baier, every one of the eight Republican candidates—again, Cain included—said they would refuse any budget deal with spending cuts and tax increases, even at a ratio of 10 to 1. Norquist lauds Cain’s efforts to highlight the issue, but would not support 9-9-9 himself if put to a vote:
Look, I applaud Herman Cain’s statement that the present system is too high, it’s too redistributionist, it moves money from one side to another. Let’s take rates radically down, let’s end this double- and triple-taxation of savings. But the way he does it creates these new taxes like a VAT [value-added tax] and a retail sales tax that have a dangerous history of growing.Perennial Republican contrarian and presidential candidate Senator Ron Paul shares Norquist’s views of the 9-9-9 plan, calling it “dangerous” and “regressive” on CNN in October. Said Paul:
What 9-9-9 does is it compromises in the worst way. It gives you a sales tax AND a flat tax AND opens up the door to a value-added tax. I think it’s very, very dangerous… Because it’s so regressive, it’s going to—if we ever came close to it, it would be very, very unpopular.Paul went on to criticize Cain for his long ties to the Federal Reserve banking establishment, a favorite Paul punching bag. Herman Cain spent seven years with the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, as the chairman of its Omaha Branch from 1989 to ’91, the deputy chairman of the Fed Kansas City from ’92 to ’94, and its chairman from ’95 to ’96. Though Paul and Cain disagree over taxes, they find common ground on the issue of the gold standard. According to Cain, “We should have never gotten off the gold standard because when we got off the gold standard, that then allowed Congress to inflate our currency whenever they overspent.”
This rhetoric has rubbed off on Newt Gingrich, whose candidacy Cain officially endorsed in January just days before the Florida primary. Cain, Paul, and Gingrich have all had their fifteen minutes in the primary spotlight, but none have been able to gain major traction.