Is Bachmann going after Cain’s 9-9-9 taxing plan?

She did in a press release I just received. I suspect she did in the debate, but you’ll have to let me know.

1) Cain is now considered a front-runner threat. She’ll want to squash Cain’s share in order to expand her own among I-don’t-like-Romney Republicans.

2) Messing with the tax code is toxic. It sank Huckabee a few years ago. Cain’s not going to have any better luck. Does it need to be done? Absolutely. But no one has the guts to do it right. Besides, there are enormous industries (think lawyers) who survive off the currently complicated code.

One thing Bachmann’s release stated that I tend to agree: consumption taxes, such as a national VAT, are regressive. More of a lower- to mid-income person’s salary will be spent consuming than the percentage of a higher income salary who will save.

Let me know if she said anything.


  1. GOLDMAN: I said we would get back to 9-9-9.

    Mr. Cain, you say that your plan is revenue-neutral. And last year, the U.S. collected $2.2 trillion dollars in tax revenue, but Bloomberg Government has run the numbers, and your plan would have raised no more than $2 trillion. And even with that shortfall, you’d still be slapping a 9 percent sales tax on food and medicine.

    CAIN: The problem with that analysis is that it is incorrect.

    The reason it is incorrect is because they start with the assumptions that we don’t make. Remember, 999 plan throws out the current tax code. And it starts with three simple economic driving principles: production drives the economy, risk-taking drives growth, and we need sound money, measurements must be dependable.

    Now what 999 does, it expands the base. When you expand the base, we can arrive at the lowest possible rate which is 999. The difference between the 999 plan and the other plans that are being proposed is that they pivot off of the existing tax code.

    We have had an outside firm, independent firm dynamically score it. And so our numbers will make it revenue neutral.

    ROSE: All right – go ahead, I’m sorry, go ahead.

    GOLDMAN: But then explain why under your plan all Americans should be paying more for milk, for a loaf of bread, and beer?

    CAIN: Pizza, I don’t buy beer.

    GOLDMAN: Yes, and pizza.

    CAIN: You have to start with the biggest tax cut a lot of Americans pay, which is the payroll tax, 15.3 percent. That goes to 9 percent. That is a 6 percentage point difference. And the prices will not go up. So they have got a 6 percentage point difference to apply to the national sales tax piece of that, and in doing so, they have the flexibility to decide on how much they want to spend it on new goods, how much they want to spend it on used goods. Because there is no tax on used goods.

    GOLDMAN: But, Congresswoman Bachmann, you’re a former IRS lawyer, do you agree?

    BACHMANN: I would have to say that the 9-9-9 plan isn’t a jobs plan, it is a tax plan. And I would say that from my experience being in Congress, but also as a federal tax lawyer, when you – the last thing you would do is give Congress another pipeline of a revenue stream. And this gives Congress a pipeline in a sales tax.

    A sales tax can also lead to value-added tax. The United States Congress put into place the Spanish-American War tax in 1888. We only partially repealed that in 2006. So once you get a new revenue stream, you are never going to get rid of it.

    And one thing I would say is, when you take the 999 plan and you turn it upside down, I think the devil is in the details.

    (taken from full transcript at:

  2. Anonymous Politico says:

    oh no!!! it’s the “Mark of the Cain!”

  3. Bachmann’s “don’t give gov another revenue stream” attack was excellent. Her 999=Devil attack…? Not so much.

  4. I don’t think opening another revenue stream is a good idea, either.

  5. I also think that when the question is:

    Isn’t it burdensome on lower income folks to charge an extra 9% for food and medicine?

    Saying “well folks can buy used to avoid the tax!” is not a very good answer.

  6. Wait a minute. On the other hand, a VAT would get a percentage of the population used to being tax-exempt paying taxes.

    (Hello you guys. I’m arguing with myself. Help?)

  7. That’s a bit of a myth. The poorest 20% are exempt from most FEDERAL taxes, but it is also true that they pay the highest % of their income in state and local taxes (largely due to the fact that sales taxes are very regressive).

  8. Then rephrase that to:

    a VAT would get a percentage of the population used to being tax-exempt paying FEDERAL taxes.

    That should fix it.

  9. Yup, we’re all good now. 🙂