Thursday, October 20, 2011

9-9-9 Actually Criticized by Other Republicans, and Explained in One (Long) Graph

Well, perhaps the Republican Party hasn't been completely taken over by plutocrats hell-bent on completely starving the poor and middle classes in order to shovel all remaining wealth to the mostly hardworking (and very lucky) few who are super-rich.

Herman Cain's crazily bad, ridiculous, and regressive 9-9-9 plan, featured yesterday on this blog, was roundly criticized by the other Republican Presidential hopefuls last night. Honestly, I'm rather amazed to hear the likes of Rick Santorum (I wouldn't Google his last name, if I were you), Ron Paul, Rick Perry, and Mitt Romney denounce the plan. Ron Paul even used the "r"-word - regressive!

Of course, Perry then announced today that he wants to implement a flat tax, which, while probably not as bad and regressive as Cain's plan, would likely still be bad and regressive. So, I'm not sure how much of their concern/denunciation was genuine and how much of it was simply attacking the current leader in the primary polls.

Anyway, authentic or not, Tim Murphy has the details:
Since when did Rick Santorum become the champion of the middle class? At Tuesday's GOP presidential debate in Las Vegas (the eighth in four months, if you're scoring at home), the former Pennsylvania senator led the charge against newly crowned front-runner Herman Cain, alleging that Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan was the last thing middle-class Americans need. Prefacing his attack with the obligatory, "Herman, I like you," Santorum stated that the tax plan, which replaces the entire tax code with a 9-percent national sales tax, 9-percent income tax, and 9-percent payroll tax, would significantly raise taxes on all but the highest earners.
From there, the rest of the field piled on. Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) called the plan "regressive" because of the impact it has on low-income earners. Texas Gov. Rick Perrry, happy to see someone else become a punching bag for a change, chided Cain for adding a national sales taxon top of existing state sales taxes. And Mitt Romney, pretending not to know the answer to the question, asked Cain if the federal tax would replace all state sales taxes. When Cain told him no (that video clip will come in handy), Romney announced he was against it.
And as a reminder of just how bad Cain's plan is, here's a graph that shows how much taxes would increase on low and middle class families and how much of a tax cut the few richest families would take home. Behold, the most amazing graph I've come across yet about Cain's 9-9-9 plan, courtesy of Jared Bernstein:

Of course, as I pointed out yesterday, Cain's plan isn't actually much worse than the plan that the Republicans proposed back in April. So, if we can all agree that Cain's plan is preposterous, and, by extension, that the Republican plan is preposterous, can we start thinking about real policy solutions to (1) our economic and unemployment problems in the short-term, and (2) our debt and deficit problems in the medium- and long-terms?

Hint: the solution does not include cutting taxes for the richest Americans, destroying the EPA, repealing all government regulations, unlimited pollution of our environment, leaving the poor, sick, and elderly to fend (or die) on their own, or repealing the rights of workers to organize, as none of these would have any meaningful effect on either our short-term or long-term problems (except perhaps letting the poor, sick, and elderly die, which seems to be OK with some Republicans) - other than to significantly decrease most Americans' quality of life in order to, again, further enrich the wealthy few.

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