From 9-9-9 To ?-?-?

October 31, 2011

Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan is still receiving a lot of scrutiny. That scrutiny comes from people who either do not understand how to do simple math, who have nothing better to offer or who just want to maintain the status quo. Recently I warned in a posting on my personal website that Herman Cain should ditch the 9-9-9 plan. But, for the benefit of those who have not read that particular post, the warning was not because it did not work. Because anyone with a calculator, basic math knowledge and the wherewithal to get on the internet and look up the figures to multiply by 9% (consumption of goods, investments, corporate incomes and personal incomes, etc.) can prove to themselves that it does. No, rather I warned him against the plan because it was even easier to demagogue by political hacks than the much better plan, which he also supports, the FairTax.

Not that the FairTax is not without its problems. As I said in my article last week, an article that drew out many non-economic minded individuals who felt compelled to express their lack of knowledge on the subject, the whole “prebate” system with the FairTax is nothing but a sop to the welfare class who would revolt if they did not get a check from the government every month. Even Mr. Cain seems to be against this and that is good, because it appears he and I are on the same page with regards to the national retail sales tax concept but also ways to make it better.

But back to Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan which implements the national retail sales tax on a smaller plan and keeps the existing system of taxing incomes even though, thankfully, at a much reduced rate. Up until now my biggest complaint with the 9-9-9 plan was that it kept the income tax in any form. However, like I have said, it works and is better than the current progressive version of the tax. But now Herman Cain has given me a very pressing reason to rethink my support for his plan.

Apparently 9-9-9 is not really going to be 9-9-9 but rather ?-?-?. If you are confused, let me explain.

In an article defending, mostly masterfully, his 9-9-9 plan against the gripes of those that hate it for misunderstood reasons, Herman Cain confesses that 9-9-9 will not be 9-9-9 everywhere. Yes, sadly it is true. A good idea is heading for a rotten turn and Mr. Cain appears to be succumbing to the gripes of the looters who want to make sure they will be able to bargain and ply legislators for favors. In point number three of his rebuttal, Mr. Cain states that he will soon be adding to his plan, “empowerment zones for economically struggling areas in which the rates will be even lower”.

Oh my! Now 9-9-9, a formerly flat tax, becomes a progressive tax? That pretty much makes the whole plan a non-starter in my mind if Mr. Cain is serious about traveling down this nebulous and dangerous path.

I can see it now! Detroit gets to be a 6-6-6 zone (pun intended) and New York City gets to be an 8-8-8 zone while Cleveland gets to be a 7-8-4 perhaps? Meanwhile you and I are stuck in a 9-9-9 zone still carrying the freight for those that have destroyed society.

My advice to Herman Cain is: stop this insanity. Stop it now. It is obvious that this idea of “empowerment” zones is something that he is adding to try and bring on board people who will not come on board unless they get special treatment. Enough!

Are you purposefully trying to scuttle a decent plan?

Stick to your guns. Do not start playing politics now. The fact that you have not done that to date is what has endeared you to many in the GOP. It is just not worth the risk to start “playing the game” now.

Listen to the advice Yoda gave to Luke Skywalker. He warned him not to "start down the dark path." Because once you do, "forever will it dominate your destiny."

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Copyright ©2011 J.J. Jackson

J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author from Pittsburgh, PA who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the Pittsburgh Conservative Examiner for  He is also the owner of The Right Things - Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at Liberty Reborn.