Cain’s ‘Simple’ 9-0-9 Plan Variation and ‘Opportunity Zones’

As we all knew he would, and after weeks of stubbornly and condescendingly defending it, Mr. 9-9-9 is now changing that “simple,” magic combination.

After finally admitting that his plan to impose a flat 9 percent income tax on low-income Americans would in fact result in a tax increase for those Americans, Cain has now modified his “simple” plan to a 9-0-9 plan for those below or at poverty level. How magnanimous of him.

Furthermore, Cain’s “simple” plan now would also include provisions for giving people who work or live in certain “Opportunity Zones” tax deductions. He outlines this “simple” plan in a colorful brochure that claims his plan will “essentially turn the whole country into one giant Opportunity Zone” and where he talks about “Enterprise Zones” with zero capital gains tax, no payroll taxes, etc.

According to the New York Times’ “The Caucus,” the brochure also lists so-called “barriers” to economic growth that local entrepreneurs would need to “identify” in order for a city to win Opportunity Zone status – including minimum wage and labor laws.

“Unions are already attacking Mr. Cain’s plan as an effort to undermine organized labor,” says the Times.

“To have Herman Cain, a serious contender on the Republican side, to make a statement like that, that he wants to further lower wages, that he wants to do away with the minimum wage – it’s almost laughable,” Richard L. Trumka, president of the A.F.L.-C.I.O., told Fox News.

Just like comments here at TMV are generally thoughtful, reasoned and non-partisan, I believe that the comments at the Times on this article are similar, and would like to share some of the “most recommended” by Times readers with TMV readers:

Changed his answer on Perry’s ranch. Changed his answer to Piers Morgan on abortion – after flip flopping. Now, changed his advertising slogan – because what actual economists were saying was true.
Now, remember he also said he would rely on his advisors when it comes to foreign affairs.
If the advisors who came up with ‘9-9-9′ came up with his foreign policy, imagine the mess Herman Cain would make.


Really? How is that going to play to the Tea Party part of the GOP? Aren’t they the ones screaming about how everyone should be paying their fair share of taxes? Doesn’t Faux News frequently bleat and whine about the percentage of people in the US that pay no income taxes? How will Cain spin this to the people he needs to support him when they are shocked and appalled that poor people have microwaves and coffee machines?

So…. people under the poverty level will now not be required to pay taxes under Cain’s “new” “Nein-Oh?-Nein” plan, but isn’t that something the Republican party has been complaining about? You know, that whole “50% of Americans don’t pay taxes” crap? So now the only difference between Cain’s plan and the current system is that the wealthy will still pay less, the poor will still have to pay both state and federal sales taxes, capital gains will still not be taxed (another boon for the wealthy), but the poor will not have to pay income taxes (which they already don’t). See if you can’t spot the big issues with this “plan.”

As for his “opportunity zones,” isn’t that just another word for “picking favorites,” which is another thing Republicans have been railing against recently. Instead of “picking favorites” based on industry, Cain would do it based on location. Shouldn’t the free market determine which cities should prosper and which cities should crumble?

Again, the 9-9-9 Plan was really just a sound bite, not a well conceived solution to a serious problem. Any voters who take Herman Cain to be a serious candidate need to do a little more research, themselves. Like pizza, he is remarkably void of nutrients.

So after denying for several weeks that it would raise taxes on the poor, he’s now “done the math” and figured out what ought to have been obvious from the beginning? This reveals just how serious and well-thought out this plan was.

Sounds like musical chairs. When migration from one city to another is over, the city losing population can seek assistance under the Cain plan and the city gaining population can lose the benefits it had from the Cain plan. Next week, the sales tax proposal under the former 9-9-9 may be eliminated too.

The concept of “Opportunity Zone” has real potential. Elimination of wage and labor laws will permit pockets of people willing many hours to work for cheap wages and without regard to workplace safety. Maybe Cain will eliminate child labor laws as well. And while he is at it why not have these Opportunity Zones be regulation-free zones. People can choose to live there. Maybe Love Canal will be the ideal first “Opportunity Zone”. Or maybe we already have the first regulation-free zone – it’s called “Wall Street”.

I did as Mr. Cain asked at the GOP debate and crunched the numbers for his 999 plan. My taxes will go up dramatically. I will not be able to pay my mortgage or purchase the new car for which I have been saving for 4 years. As a struggling teacher I keep a very close watch on my funds. The only debt I carry is my mortgage. Despite my best efforts to be financially responsible Mr. Cain’s plan will crush me. I don’t know why my taxes should go up so that Mr. Cain’s taxes can go down. This is NOT a fair tax!

(Author’s comment: Well, you could buy a used car, used clothes, used school supplies, etc.)

So, with the addition of the asterisk to his 9-9-9 Pepperpike Tax Plan, have we moved beyond talking about apples and oranges–to the full range of fruit–or just a fruitcake plan backed by a book-shilling flake?

Seriously, the fact that the Hermanator is on top of the polls in the Republican Presidential field speaks volumes about the quality of the field, the mental state of the GOP’s base and why, for all the corporate controlled and Republican-leaning media’s efforts to anoint Mitt with the crown, Mitt ain’t it.

As for the rest of Herm’s proposals?

My favorite has to be the idea that the key to fixing ghettos is to a) pay people who live there slave wages, and b) eliminate zoning (“Yo–get back to your shanties–the company store done closed for the day.”)

Author: DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist


    Cain is a clown and there is no evidence he was a “successful” CEO. The WSJ Murdoch empire will take him down.

  • Allen

    Ron you are so cruel.

    Dorian….Comments on TMV are non partisan…? LoL get real.

    Did I not predict adjustments in the 9-9-9 plan?

    You are attacking Herman Cain on a personal level and most viciously. Please, your bigotry is showing.

    You should not underestimate Herman Cain. I would choose Herman Cain over ANY of the GOP candidates. That is, if I were choosing GOP candidates. However the personal attacks on Herman Cain will backfire rather hard. Don’t forget, though we don’t like to admit it, we are capitalist…are we not?

    Personally I would enjoy my income tax to be reduced by a third, but without an answer for healthcare, I cannot actually vote for Cain….but I did hear him say something about healthcare. maybe if he was on Piers again we could find out.

  • Allen

    Opportunity Zones…?

    All this stuff I’m reading on this pamphlet, (from link), for some strange reason, reminds me of the words above the entrance to a Nazi concentration camp….Arbeit Macht Frei

    For crying out loud, what the heck is going on here?

  • JSpencer

    Okey dokey. Once he gets the 909 revision up and running all he needs to do is convince social conservatives he’s one of them. Oh, and he needs to work up a warchest. Ah well, at least he can sing!

  • JSpencer

    And he isn’t causing angst and garment rending amongst serious republicans by being a Mormon either!

  • zippee

    I believe his “zones” should be referred to by what they actually are – ghetto plantations.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    More on:

    “(Author’s comment: Well, you could buy a used car, used clothes, used school supplies, etc.)”

    Hell, let them eat used cake!

  • DaGoat

    Like most of the GOP candidates Cain is a clown. I do like that he’s looking at ways to simplify and change the tax code, though. Maybe instead of just dismissing his plan out of hand there are concepts within it that could work, or modified to make them work.

  • sentry

    Do the liberals on here have better ideas than Cain’s, or the other GOP candidates’, or the equally poor or likely worse ideas of Obama, Krugman, other left-activists, and the rest of such?

    I have a hunch the answer is they have nothing themselves or their ideas also are bad and maybe worse.

    There aren’t enough RICH to rob (“tax”) be they the One Per Cent, or the bigger group some already may have in mind, and gouging the evil corporations won’t work.

    I predict a mess ahead. So many assume and expect what they shouldn’t. (So many of them also nip at and yap about GOP candidates for office and so much else that strikes them the same way.)

  • dduck

    All of you people that are calling Cain a clown and Bill Maher, last night, calling him stupid, are simply afraid of a plain spoken person with bold plans who sticks his foot in his mouth occasionally as Obama and Hillary and most politicians have done.
    I think you are exaggerating about his deficiencies and are basically liberals who hate and or distrust any republican.
    I also think you justified, because you are hearing footsteps from the country and the polls Obama is slipping down on.

  • JSpencer

    “used cake”

    Good one Dorian.

    Duck, if Cain’s “deficiencies” are being exagerrated, he has plenty of opportunities to prove otherwise.

  • slamfu

    Taxes are not robbery. Robbery is when an industry takes a bailout from the taxpayers to cover the debts it raked up from defrauding the market. Robbery is when you bribe politicians to write laws exempting you from taxes or creating favorable business exceptions that are not in the public’s interests. Robbery is when special interests take over policy making and the people suffer.

    There are plenty of plans coming from the left and middle, but the right doesn’t want to hear any of them. They prefer to shove their fingers in their ears and make noises instead, then say that the other side doesn’t have anything to say. Yea, they include raising taxes among other things which is why the right doesn’t want to hear them. But to say their are no plans being offered up when Obama just submitted an entire package to the GOP to watch them shut it down like everything else, you seem to me intentionally dense. Not unlike Cain’s plan to shift even more of the burden of taxes to the middle and lower income brackets as a tax solution.

  • dduck

    Too bad they chopped up all those “clunkers” that were in good shape. I’m sure some folks (not the limousine liberals)wouldn’t mind saving taxes on “used” goods. (Sorry GM.)
    But, hey, we are indoctrinated to buy new, and yes I would exempt turnips and eggplants, both of which I can’t stand.

  • sentry

    What D. Duck has previously written about extends to the general. Everyone with a brain knew the Democrats would screw up badly any “stimulus” after Obama’s election, and they did. Why should we now trust the idiots who were clueless or dishonest before, now that they have re-discovered the need for infrastructure, etc., spending and want to spend vastly more now?

    Meanwhile, about the original subject, I’m disappointed but not in any way surprised that liberal critics of Cain failed to criticize the tax scheme and the purported positive economic effects of overdue reform of the tax code and tax “regime,” in the most logical manner. (Of course, liberals exhibit a dearth of logic.)

    Opportunity zones (with favorable tax and other economic features deliberately contrived to be stimulative) are great in theory, but in addition to being something like industrial policy (trying to create “winner” locations, in this case), the most basic criticism is that just as with tax cuts, it’s great in theory but in no way guarantees that economic activity is improved merely because negative incentives have been removed.

  • sentry

    D. Duck wrote the following:

    Too bad they chopped up all those “clunkers” that were in good shape.

    Well, at least they didn’t extend the concept to housing, not limiting themselves to renovating and insulating substandard and older, less desirable housing in so many of those old, cold, eastern, run-down “Blue” (Democratic) locations. Not even in Detroit have they yet done much demolition of the worst housing. Even there, in the spotlight perhaps, they might neglect to build enough replacement housing, or build replacement housing that would be affordable (especially close to limousine liberal residential and work areas).

  • sentry

    As for “slamfu’s” poor protest about what apparently I posted, there is or at least should not be any insurmountable challenge in understanding that tax policy can be avaricious or punitive, and “soak the rich” long has been understood to be such (as well as simply stupid reasoning when it comes to serious tax policy).